Juli 01, 2019
We threw our bums on the chairs of the restaurant terrace in the big tourist resort in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.
We had been snorkeling around in the beautiful clear, blue water for hours, and we were comfortably tired and content but were eager to order something to eat.
This was on a vacation we never thought we would do, an all-inclusive, with breakfast, dinner, and entertainment under one roof.
With entertainment, I thought they meant some goofy activities I had seen in comedies growing up (Swedes, you know what I mean, “Sällskapsresan”).
Sitting there, relaxing in the warm evening air, while sipping wine and talking about all the beautiful fish and exotic vegetation we had seen during the day, I suddenly sat up straight.
Passing me, a man with a monkey walked by. I was bewildered, I hadn’t seen a monkey that close before. He was so cute, but there was something wrong. There was a chain around the monkey’s neck.
The man and the monkey continued to the other side of the terrace where they sat down next to the piano. The man made some signs and the monkey did tricks. The man also told us we could come over and he would take a picture with us and the monkey together. The perfect memory to take back home.
As I watched the monkey, I got more and more upset. The monkey looked like all life had run out of him, his eyes were empty, like the living dead. He did what he was told, like a robot. It was obvious he had done it before, probably every day for years. So, this is what they meant by entertainment?
My husband and I were both angry and sad, but we didn’t know what to do.
And at this point, sixteen years ago, I did not yet understand how animals are being abused in so many ways by humans, including within the entertainment industry.
We have to be careful because even at home animals are mistreated for our amusement. For instance, many circuses exist that still force animals to perform.
There are all kinds of animals being used in circuses: elephants, tigers, lions, camels, horses, sea lions, and others. They endure the hardness of transport, training, and performances.
Many animals in circuses have been taken from the wild and enslaved, or they are bred in captivity and will spend their entire lives in close contact with humans in an unnatural, stressful environment.
They learn to obey commands and perform dangerous, uncomfortable tricks because they’re afraid of being whipped or beaten with bullhooks (heavy batons with a sharp metal hook on one end, used for elephants).
When they are not training or performing, animals are kept chained or caged
While traveling they are crammed for days into trailers, which are often filthy and poorly ventilated.
They can become depressed and develop behavior patterns, including swaying, head bobbing and incessant pacing. Sometimes, they even harm themselves.
They’re denied everything that gives their lives meaning, such as the opportunity to run, play, or socialize.
Animals have snapped when they became overwhelmed by the stress of circus life, going on rampages and causing property damage and even human deaths and injuries. The animals often pay for this behavior with their lives.
Today I know more than I did sixteen years ago on that all-inclusive holiday trip.
One of the best things we can do is to avoid places and products where animal abuse is involved.
And in the case above, today I would have spoken to the hotel manager and the travel agency about it. There are so many of us now that don’t like these kinds of things and if we stand together we can move mountains!
Like I mentioned earlier, every action matters. If you decided not to visit this kind of “entertainment” again, I promise you, it will have an impact.
Like with Trip Advisor, one of the biggest Travel Companies in the world has cut out many of their entertainment offerings including animals because so many people told them that they don’t like it.
In the last years, many countries have also forbidden animals or wild animals in circuses, thanks to people like you, who don’t like that cruelty.
But don’t think you won’t be able to have fun or that you will never be able to take your kids to a circus.
A couple of wonderful animal-free circuses to visit are Cirque du Soleil and Roncalli.
What makes Roncalli special is that there are still animals involved in the show, but as holograms, have a peek here!
Isn’t that great, I mean, it really matters what we do, and we can make a difference in ending animal cruelty even when we are on holiday and when we are having fun!
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