For some time now, outcries have been heard loudly all around the world on behalf of animals. From being poached for their bodies or being mistreated for entertainment, elephant rights activists are often on the frontline of this battle. And in the last few years, these efforts have seen more success than ever.
Elephants have been domesticated and/or hunted for their tusks for centuries or more around eastern continents, but it wasn’t so long ago that the western world was first introduced to them through the rising curtains of the new and increasingly popular circus. Circuses had been around for a long time in Europe and elsewhere, but elephants had yet to partake in the traditions. The first elephant was actually brought overseas to the new world to assist with manual farming labor, rather than participating in any kind of performance. But with their impressive size and talents, their appeal became clear, and they quickly became one of the biggest attractions there – skyrocketing the success and stature of the American circus.
However, the ride would be short-lived.
As trade and information made the world more and more connected, knowledge about our friends in the animal kingdom became more common – and it was realized that elephants in particular had uncanny levels of intelligence. It’s no wonder they had been trained to take part in such impressive feats. But getting an elephant to exhibit the tricks and trades of the circus involves the kind of training that’s widely deemed inhumane, and as such, it’s became clear that they don’t belong in a life of captivity, far away from their natural habitat and everyday lives.
One by one, various companies providing forms of elephant entertainment have been closing their doors for such services. Back in May, the UK government banned wild animals being used for circus performances. In Germany, a circus made headlines around the world this past summer after they became the first to trade in real animals for holographic ones in their show. Individual states in the U.S.A. have also issued legislation against the practice throughout the past year, with more in the works following suit.
And finally, Denmark has joined the fight – and set a whole new example of justice in the process. With a legal ban on its way, they decided something should be done right away. Rather than forcing its last majestic creatures to wait for the lengthy legal process of lawmaking, the government of Denmark bought all of the country’s remaining circus elephants so they can retire and live out the rest of their days in peace – for 11 million kroner (roughly $1.6 million USD).
They are now in the care of Animal Protection Denmark and will soon be moved to their new home to celebrate their long-awaited freedom.