I Am An Elephant

I am an elephant.


There is no evidence to suggest I was put on this earth to do anything
other than live my life freely


just like you.

Minolta DSC

I am an elephant.


I roam the land in of Asia and Africa.


I am smart and affectionate.


I communicate, form friendships, and mourn the loss of loved ones.

Elephants Walking in a Line in Kenya

In the wild, I walk more than 20 miles a day with my family
and remain with my mother my entire life.
These are my natural instincts.

I am an elephant.
The people who seek to profit off of me in the circus
will tell you I enjoy a life of captivity
even though I am deprived of all these natural instincts
and torn from my mother as a baby.


They will even tell you I’m happy.
Common sense tells you otherwise.
I don’t belong in American arenas and parking lots.


As an unwilling participant in the circus,
I’m forced to perform tricks that are unnatural to me.

I’m stuck with a bullhook when I refuse to perform.
My skin may look thick and tough but it is thin.
It has the same tenderness as a horse’s skin.
Trainers poke me in the most sensitive parts under my trunk and legs
to force me to obey their orders.


I don’t want to do these tricks because I don’t understand them.


When I refuse, I am beaten into submission so I will perform for you.
What you call “The Greatest Show On Earth”
is my living nightmare of confinement and abuse.


I’m kept in a cage with barely enough room to turn around.


My front and back legs are shackled in chains so I am unable to move.


I am an elephant.
I am forced to eat, sleep, and defecate in trailers
where I spend days traveling from city to city.
It is dark and lonely.
How could anybody find my treatment acceptable?
How could anybody who learns about the atrocities of the circus
continue to support the industry?


Circus employees break my spirit as a vulnerable baby
so unsuspecting parents can pay to see me perform.

Michael Cotterman

Are they unaware of the violent training sessions
with ropes, bullhooks, and electric shock prods?


People think I enjoy being in the circus.
I do not.
I enjoy being in the wild.


Circus trainer Tim Frisco was caught on videotape
during the training of an elephant saying:
“Sink that hook into ’em…when you hear that screaming
then you know you got their attention…
Right here in the barn. You can’t do it on the road…
I’m not gonna touch her in front of a thousand people…
She’s gonna fucking do what I want and
that’s just fucking the way it is.”
Now you know what life is like for me in the circus.


Why do I endure such pain and suffering?
So you and your children can see me do tricks.


Even though you could have the same amount of fun
seeing people do tricks who are willing participants earning a living.


I am an elephant.
I live a life of constant confinement and frustration.
I sway back and forth, a result of the anguish I feel
from not being able to exercise my natural instincts.
Boredom often causes me to engage in self-mutilation.


How could any human being look at these images
and not be indelibly saddened and outraged?
Not speak on our behalf?
Not boycott the circus?
What kind of person knowingly supports an industry that abuses animals?
Say no to the circus.
Say yes to compassion for animals.
Let us live freely in the wild.

Elephants Walking in a Line in Kenya

If there are other options that entertain people,
have proven to be wildly popular and profitable,
and don’t involve inflicting such terrible cruelty to animals –
how could you not advocate for them?
I want to be free.


I want to live my life in my natural habitat.


What you allow to happen to me is a reflection of
your values and your compassion.
You can dismiss my life and argue that
because you can’t stop injustice everywhere,
you will stop it nowhere
or you can take a stand.


I am an elephant.
Without your help,
I have no hope.


Please don’t let my captors do this to me.
Send a message to the world –
be a hero to billions of defenseless animals and compassionate people –
pave the way for a revolution of kindness to animals –
boycott the circus.


I am an elephant.
Save me!
Save me!

7 thoughts on “I Am An Elephant

  1. Thanks for a good article. I have not been to a circus with animals in years as it upset me to see the cats and elephants used to entertain me. When I was wishing the handlers would be attacked and eaten, I knew it was time to not go any more.

  2. This is pure abuse ! Circus should be banned and anyone caught abusing a defensless animal in any way should have severe punishment…..how can a person sleep at night klnowing they do this for a living….God please step in in some way after all these are your creations……

  3. One of my sons was born in 1993, the same year that Ringling Circus was celebrating some anniversary. They offered tickets for lifetime admission for all newborns that year. I sent in for my son to take advantage of the program, and received a ticket for him. He has never once attended the Ringling Circus, and the ticket remains in a drawer, unused. Thankfully, I was educated before ever exposing him to such entertainment.

  4. Why do we do this? The best circus in the world doesn’t have any animals in whatsoever. Sure some folk aren’t aware of all this but there are many who are and still visit the circus. So terribly sad to see these wonderful majestic creatures living lives like this. Also the “training” Jeez I know exactly what I’d like to do with them!

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