One afternoon  Arlo and I head to Ace Hardware in Kuta to buy some silly string and a terrarium planter but what to are wondering eye should appear? No, not a miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer…. The “Show” ( as all good roustabouts would call it) had arrived! The circus had come to town.

The Big Top was up. The once empty Ace Hardware parking lot had been transformed.  The Kinkers (performers) and Clowns were in their trailers. The roustabouts and rubbermen (road crew and balloon sellers) were resting in the shady spots. The only thing moving were the elephants chained up around the side. A small crowd gathered watching them strain against their chains as they tried to reach the food.

Okay I must confess I read Water for Elephants this summer (hence the lingo) and I do love the idea of an old-fashioned circus… daring young trapeze artist dressed in a pink sequin leotards, tight rope walkers, men in shiny black top hats and don’t forget about the side-show freaks! A bearded lady and the sword swallowing guy! This is serious fun. But, I can’t get past the “elephant in the room” or in this case “the elephant in the tent“….

Soon the ticket counter will open, crowds of people will make their way inside, helium balloons will float from sticky hands into the evening sky, the ring master will start the show, and the crowd will hush in anticipation of the first act. Everyone will be laughing and having a good time so what’s the problem?

The truth is a circus is not harmless entertainment. Those with no voice suffer.  These animals are abused and broken for our “fun”.

We will not see the show.  My 7 year old can feel their sadness. ” look at her eyes mom, I think she wants to go home”  “If only we could let the elephants go free” Arlo says wistfully, “but they might get hurt in traffic…..”

Watch the videos below to learn more…  *WARNING: disturbing  and violent*