Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Australia. Perry Bros Circus. Free Saigon, the Elephant.

There's a new effort to free Saigon, but it isn't the same one from the 1960s. Saigon, this time, is a 55-yr old elephant who is transported from town to town by the Perry Bros. Circus although she is already too old to perform. At that age, you'd think she deserves to retire after having earned enough money for the circus. Not so, the milk of human kindness does not flow through the Perry Bros Circus. Animals Australia has embarked on a petition to convince the circus to give Saigon a break, to let her have some kind of retirement life before she finally says good-bye. For pity's sake, let her free. It's not like the circus hasn't squeeze every ounce of financial profit from her. On one of the online forums, someone commented that the last of Saigon's four female companions died last December (2009), and that she has never met a male in all her life. Saigon lives alone now.

What can we do from here? You can email them directly at info@perrybroscircus.com.au , or you can help by signing the petition below, and that should not take more than two minutes of your time:

Free Saigon Petition



Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

Thank you for sharing this! I signed the petition.

Anonymous said...

People should get there facts straight before they jump on the media band wagon ... They make no money from this animal.. she is not locked up in a truck ????
She is with many other animals and the human companions she loves and has been with for over 50 yrs... Here is a link to a counter petition and a letter from the circus.
There is always two sides to every story and if you have the guts to post your opinion on things you should also be brave enough to let the other side be heard !!

Chessbuff said...

Anon, thank you for commenting. It sounds like you are a member of the Perry family, or someone very close to it.

From the looks of your counter petition, not many people believe in your position. There are issues that need to be explained. Why keep an elephant captive, actually four of them, for 50 years if the Perry circus wasn't making any money out of them? Are you saying that Saigon and her deceased companions were held captive to become pets? The bottom line is that elephants don't belong in circuses and they certainly don't deserve a captive life that spans 50 years. If I were to accept that you genuinely love your captive, performing elephants, then I should be ready to accept that the prison warden genuinely loves his prisoners. That's quite a stretch, especially yours.

Roy said...


I understand your concern, and thank you for it. However, you clearly do not understand what is going on in Saigon's life. I have always seen all creatures as the people of the Earth... even humans, which are the only ones who practice the arrogance of thinking they are above the others. I have always stood up for "animal rights."

I grew up in the circus, and have lived and worked with elephants. I have known many of them intimately, and understand the deep attachments and love they develop for those they trust. It's just like the herd life they are born to live, by their nature. Saigon does not view her life as captivity. She sees the safety of the herd; the only family she has ever known. Would we just rip old Aunt Tillie away from the family, and stick her in a home, among strangers, and unfamiliar surroundings, when it is not necessary? To do so with Saigon would be devastating, and potentially dangerous. I've seen it, and it is terribly cruel.

Circus elephants like to perform. In fact they expect it, and often get agitated when they are not allowed to go on. Saigon is no longer a performer. That is enough of a life change to adjust to right now. She actually costs money to support (like Aunt Tillie), rather than making it, to support the family. So, the prison argument is a non sequiter (a fallacy of relevance) - apples and oranges, as it were. Actually, placing her in any kind of keeping facility would be exactly like prison.

Believe me, I hear your concern, but it is misplaced here. There are, however, many other creatures who are being mistreated. They deserve your efforts. Please, stop trying to tear this poor soul from her family.

By the way, I am in no way related to the Perry organization, other than my understanding of this situation, and concern for the person we are discussing.

Thanks again for standing up. Most humans don't care enough to do so.

Chessbuff said...

Roy, Thank you for commenting although you have not allowed the public to view your profile.

We are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to animal welfare. An elephant trainer or a circus worker who attends to the animals is not necessarily an animal welfare advocate. Their work does not necessarily constitute a love for animals. The feeding and upkeep of circus animals are business-like, precautionary measures that management takes to insure profitability. So, let's not confuse the two.

As for the attention that Saigon is receiving at the moment, you can't hold that up high and declare it as evidence of the love, respect, and concern from the Perry family because that
comes at the end of approximately half a century of captivity and forced servitude. True love for animals would not even allow this situation to take place at all. And I reject any notion that animals love to perform. No animal wakes up in the morning and says, " Gee, I'd love to balance on a ball today and please the audience. " Animal acts performed at the circus are unnatural to the animals. That's why trainers resort to both beating and rewards. Why the bullhooks if elephants love to perform?

As for tearing the animals from the only family(?) they know, well, the former circus elephants
who have been given their freedom at the elephant preserve in Tennessee haven't died longing for their bullhooking relatives.

Buttom line here is that those involved in animal captivity and commercial exploitation have no right to beat their breast and declare that the animals'welfare beats strongly in their heart.

Give up Saigon to those who can truly care for her.

Anonymous said...

BULLHOOKS? It is called an ankus. Bullhook is a ridiculus term made up by the anti circus front. The ankus is used in every single place captive elephants are kept. By law in Australia they must be probe ended - i.e. blunt. they are used as a guide and can be useful. elephants are very smart and can be quite cheeky. If you let them get away with not doing a behaviour asked of them (including lifting their feet to be cleaned) then they learn that they don't have to do what they are told and it can lead to the animal becomign aggressive. An elephant has 3 - 5 tonnes of weight to show other elephants whose boss elephant keepers have a small blunt stick! you think they are being forceful and agressive. It is no different to how they would be treated in the wild by their mothers and aunties!

Chessbuff said...

Anon, thank you for commenting.

Bullhooks or ankus, does it truly matter how one calls it? It is a weapon of intimidation. Washing their feet? Elephants don't have their feet washed if they were free. They have their own way of assuring the health of their feet. Washing their feet might look like an act of love by circus workers, but it truly is an act to insure future profitability. Cleaner feet would mean more years of forced performances. Guiding an elephant means that you want the elephant to do something you want it to do, usually against its will or choice. People at the circus simply don't get it, do they? Elephants don't belong there no matter how you treat them. Set them free.

Anonymous said...

Well said Chessbuff!!!!