in 2000, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals filed a lawsuit against Ringling Brothers because the elephant trainers use a "bullhook" on the elephants. The instrument has a sharp end to it, but in no way are the trainers abusing the animals. The prod is hooked, of course, with a sharp end. Circus professionals have used this instrument for decades. Animal activist organizations more often do not care about the animals. One report exposed that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) actually kills many of the animals taken under their "care". As for the ASPCA, they are also on record for killing sheltered animals and killing legislation which would save animal lives. They are more interested in making money and stirring up sentiment.
The ASPCA's lawsuit featured a dubious star witness, Tom Rider, who had worked for a number of circuses, all of which used chains as well as bullhooks to manage the elephants. When the judge discovered In their lawsuit against Ringling Brothers, the "Activists" went too far. Not only did they lose their suit, but a federal judge is now forcing the agency to pay back Ringling Brothers' legal fees. This turn of events is more than justice, but a small victory for a much-needed yet neglected tort reform. How many more lawsuits will it take before entertainment industries, restaurants, and other small businesses call it quits and leave the state? Imagine the number of jobs which the state would lose if these lawsuits were successful. Now the City of Los Angeles is contemplating whether to ban circuses from city limits if those organizations use "abusive" practices with their animals. Mayor Villaraigosa sees nothing wrong with abusing his office by partying with the likes of self-destructive hedonist Charlie Sheen, but he wants to forbid family entertainment that would bring in jobs.
The double standard of protecting cruelty to animals is one thing. If individuals choose to be moved by the emotional commercials and donate their money, that is their choice. Yet for LA City leaders to get weepy about the poor treatment of elephants is just inexcusable. The elephants have jobs, food, shelter, and they get to perform before wild and welcoming crowds all over the world. LA residents are struggling to find work and keep food on their tables and shelter over their heads. Worst of all, they elect the City councilmembers and the mayor, yet their own leadership spends more time pandering to interest groups like the ASPCA.
And the media circus is paying more attention to the pachyderms than the pack of problems plaguing LA City, like the pension crisis, the massive layoffs, the potholes all over the city. Let's not forget the financial struggles still shackling LA Unified. The media circus should be all over these issues.
On another note, another breed of elephants, the Republicans, is being abused with a different type of hook, a prod called "moderation", by the same media circus. From loud liberals like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to moderate-liberal sympathizers like General Colin Powell, and even statewide columnists like Thomas Elias, Republicans are getting all sorts of advice about shaping their ways to the "mainstream", that is "be more liberal".
While the mainstream media lightly reports on lawsuit abuse which only superficially deals with the treatment of animals,and while Los Angeles gears up for banning "abusive" circuses, the same media is complicit in these acts of cruelty to political elephants. The Republican Party does not have a policy problem, does not have an image problem, but definitely has a messaging problem. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks tough to voters, either in their favor or against their fervor, but he deals as best he can with a heavily Democratic legislature. He managed to cut property taxes three times in a row. He blocked excessive federal projects. He took on the teachers union leadership.
For the past two elections, the Republican standard-bearer for California Governor was a Hollywood Actor who loved talking tough with voters, but refused to get real with legislators. The other California Republican gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman, was "Romney" with a skirt on. She was moderate on social issues, but she failed to connect with Hispanics. She spent lots of money telling people who she was, but all of that money never bought anyone's confidence or their vote. Cash-strapped states do not need leaders who are strapped with cash.
The Republican breed of Elephants should pay no attention to the goad of media elites which would spurn them to turn to the "center" or the left on their policies. Instead, they should remember who they are and the values they represent, since an elephant is prided on its fantastic memory, and forget the mousy-browsy nonsense which tells them to give up their core conservative values. Better candidates, better outreach, shaping conservatism to recognize the realities of men and women who are hard-up for a job and a future, and the Republican Party can cast the Democratic "bullhooks" for what they are really doing: driving this state into insolvency and incompetence.