Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guilt For Elephants

Last year, I read Water for Elephants.

It was a good read.

But I felt a tad guilty when we came upon a small itinerant circus and I paid money to allow my family to ride these magnificent beasts.

Luke & Joe on an elephant

Greg & Paul on a camel. 

It was just a story right?  These animals are properly cared for, right?  The $24 we spent to ride them is going towards their welfare, right?  Camel poop is supposed to look like giant rabbit poop right?  Not like elephant poop which looks like giant horse poop, right? 

Does this make me a good mom but a bad steward of beasts of burden?  Or am I a horrible mom for allowing my children to exploit animals? Guilty guilty guilty guilty.


  1. I think you are a fun mom. I would do the same. Water for Elephants was about depression era circus animals ... way different than these animals.

  2. Of course you are not a bad mom! There are many reasons to introduce your kids to animals they wouldn't have access to without zoos or "itinerant circuses," as you say. I rode an elephant once when I was a kid, and it was an experience I'll never forget. It's one of the reasons I love elephants so much, in fact.

    That said, it may aleviate your guilt somewhat to have a conversation with your kids about it. Sadly, I don't believe that the treatment of these animals really is all that different from what it was in the depression era.

    Even if it is different now, elephants and other wild animals are just that--wild. Should they be kept in confined spaces and used for our amusement, even if they ARE "treated well?"

    Definitely a worthwhile conversation to have with the kiddos. They may say yes, it's cool, or no, on second thought, it's not so cool. Either way, it's a good question for kids to ask.

    Doesn't make you a bad mom or a bad person to have let them ride the elephant, though!

    1. You're right -- it did create some interesting conversation!

  3. I read that too. Loved it but it made me even more angry about the circus. I'm 27 and have never been and I still have zero desire to go. I am enamored with elephants, which i get from my mother. I'd love to ride one, or just sit on one, but like you, I'd feel riddles with guilt. I may still do it. Le Sigh...

  4. I liked Water for Elephants. But it was one of those novels that I burned through in days and was left...kinda...unsatisfied. I don't know. It was definitely a seven, probably an eight. But it wasn't It. You know It. That magical must-turn-the-page-recommend-it-to-all-your-friends It.


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