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The float offers nothing to celebrate

October 14, 2011

The name of Glendale’s

Tournament of Roses Parade float matters less than its theme. No matter how it’s floated, elephants in circuses are not free (“City settles on Rose float name,” Oct. 19).

Elephants are highly social animals who lavish affection and attention on their family members. In the wild, each day is filled with socializing, exploring, playing and participating in herd activities.

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Every milestone, such as new births and the rainy season, is cause for celebration. Their mourning ritual for the death of a family member rivals any we humans have. Elephants experience joy, sadness and fear. Their level of self-awareness continues to astonish researchers worldwide.

In circuses, an elephant’s world extends only as far as a chain. They live in fear of being hit with a bullhook — a heavy baton with a sharp metal hook on the end. Reaching out to exchange greetings with a friend or hesitating when asked to perform a headstand or other trick results in punishment.

There’s nothing to celebrate about Glendale’s float.

Jennifer O'Connor

Norfolk, Va.

Editor’s note: O’Conner is staff writer for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation

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