First, I must admit that my wife and I are supporters of the ASPCA and Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. We, like many others, cringe when we see those commercials showing abused pets and animals.

However with regards to the recent elephant controversy, I feel compelled to support trained animals in the circuses of today. I believe, the animals in today’s circuses are more like pets to their owners. Most, if not all, of these trained animals were born and raised in the circus. Many people believe that these animals would be happier in the wild. The truth is that these animals would not survive very long in the wild. Training elephants to perform for an audience is no different than training and having dogs perform in the Westminster Dog Show or training horses to compete in the Olympic Dressage competition. Before we condemn circuses for their alleged cruelty, let’s make sure it is warranted.

Let’s remember, humans have been capturing and domesticating animals since the beginning of our ‘civilized’ history. They have been our companions, protectors, mode of transportation, and entertainers. Oh and let us not forget they have also been our food, killers, and sources of many nightmares. There are two sides to every controversy.

Steven C. Pomelow