Saturday, October 31, 2009
My husband and I were touristing diligently in downtown San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, shopping for trinkets in one of the many lovely little stores, when he said, "Ann, there's a zebra outside." After more than a second or two for me to parse this, I realized I should actually take a look. And there it was. The circus had come to town.
Advertising the performance, truck after truck loaded with animals navigated the narrow streets, loudspeaker blaring. This seemed to be a fairly large circus with a lot of animals. I trotted after and took these photos. My husband saw more than I did and said they had many big cats. He took this photo as the trucks moved on.
Later I mentioned the parade to an American friend who lives in SMA, as we in the know call it. (I can pretend I'm in the know!) She said that "Mexican circuses are rough. I wouldn't go if I were you." I had no intention of going, no interest in supporting this business. That is all I can report on the performance.
We encountered the circus again later, on the way back from the wonderful Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden. The tent was set up and the animals were unloaded. I can only say that they were not thin and they had fresh hay and no visible injuries. I did not see the cats close up. I was very surprised to see four young giraffes. As far as I know, the collection did not include any elephants.
San Miguel is a small and somewhat isolated town. There's not a lot for young people to do there. No doubt the circus will be popular.
My guess is that those animals would be happy to trade life in a zoo for this one of constant travel and whatever performances are required of them. If you have the stomach for it, read the first part of A Different Nature by David Hancocks for horrific descriptions of human exploitation of animals for entertainment. The ancient Romans locally exterminated many African species for wholesale slaughter in the coliseums. Put me off my feed for a week. We limp slowly toward a more respectful relationship with our fellow species, with many detours.