The letter by James Carruthers (“What next?” The Daily Astorian, April 27) opposing the ban on circuses in Clatsop County uses a tactic in counter-logic that I learned about in the sixth grade: If you can’t argue against something logically, paint your opponent as extremist and attribute imaginary future wackiness to them.

I am not, and most people in opposition to animals in circuses are not, animal rights extremists. We are talking about wild, not domesticated animals here, incarcerated to entertain humans.

Because our species can’t be content to observe wild animals in their own habitat, we dress them up in human-like clothes and decorations and teach them to act human-like by standing on two legs, jumping through hoops and doing tricks with human toys. Everybody applauds. Because we can’t measure whether the animals are happy or not, we decide that it’s OK, because all that really matters is how humans feel. That is called anthropocentrism.

What I hope to see out of this is an evolution of human behavior and thought. For humans to change. To take a small upward step in how we relate to the other life forms that we are supposed to share the planet with.

The biblical term dominion has been adulterated from its intended definition, “taking care of life forms less intelligent” to one of using animals in thoughtless ways. Our “advanced” species’ idea of dominion of animals in the wild ranges from outright slaughter, to incarceration, to destruction of their habitat, leading to extinction.

Humans are not the center of the universe, but we have the ego to believe it. We are, in reality, one specie of millions of species, but there is no benevolence in our relationship to animals – no appreciation of them just as they are.

Circus use of animals is a leftover human shame from the dark ages. It’s time to prove we’re better than that.




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