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Sunday, July 23, 2006 

St Johns, MI 76 miles. Grass. Rain.

Lansing, MI. 47 miles. Asphalt. Two days at the Union Baptist Church. Wonderful hosts who put together a fantastic worship service inside the bigtop on Sunday.



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For several days now the news has reported on the death of an elephant handler at a “sanctuary” in Tennessee. The elephant involved in the tragedy came from a midwestern zoo and had a history of “problems.” The handler had no real elephant experience outside of the “sanctuary.” Anyone who works with elephants is appalled when another handler is killed or injured by an elephant. In today’s circuses elephants are carefully screened for temperament before they are ever taken on the road. There is no place for a “problem” elephant under the bigtop. That said, the incident in Tennessee raises disturbing questions about the non-traditional approach taken in elephant management both at the Tennessee facility and at a similar facility in California. This approach places little emphasis on socialization and discounts the need for a hierarchical structure in elephant management. Simply put in failing to set behavioral standards, handlers in these sanctuaries increase the likelihood for accidents. Questions arise as to whether these are really proper facilities for the placement of elephants. If any good can come from tragedy, it may be that we finally ask the hard questions as to what really qualifies a “sanctuary” to “rescue” elephants.

About me

  • I'm B.E.Trumble
  • From Everywhere, United States
  • Ben Trumble works in circus, carnival, and media relations
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