Illusions distort our perception of reality from the moment of birth and throughout our lives. Our limited senses are able to process only a small amount of the information that continuously bombards us. Webster’s Dictionary defines an illusion as “a false perception, conception or interpretation, of what one sees, where one is.”

One common illusion is that we are stationary and on a firm surface. The reality, however, is that we are moving at a tremendous speed in a complex universe.

Another common illusion is that wild animals can be taught to perform senseless tricks for our amusement and are happy to do so. For centuries this false perception has been perpetrated in an entertainment venue called the “circus.”

Most adults recall the circus as a positive childhood experience representing a happy introduction to wild exotic creatures. Or so we thought and believed, as many adults still do today.

The reality is far different from our childhood illusion. Creatures having lived forever wild, with their families, roaming large distances, and surviving on instinctual behaviors, are taken as infants and psychologically, physically, and emotionally tortured until broken enough to perform unnatural tricks. These hapless animals are starved, beaten, subjected to electric shock, solitary confinement, and all manner of abuse.

The illusion was first formally exposed in 2009 when whistleblower, Sam Haddock, showed videos of how these baby animals were abused to the point of total submission. The word is now out, and newspapers and videos everywhere abound with visual evidence of the tortures inflicted behind the scenes. We were the uninformed public, but now we are informed.

My search indicated that all major circuses have been cited and fined for their unnecessary inhumane ongoing mistreatment of animals for commercial gain. The only limit to the number of actual known violations of the Animal Welfare Act is due to a lack of adequate policing. These wild animals are subject to a life of captivity, which can include eleven months of traveling in small containers, in their own excrement, usually chained and immobilized in all weather conditions. They become, by all standards, broken and totally traumatized and terminally suffering.

The largest group of victims, other than the animals themselves, are the children who are still subjected to the illusion. Children are continuing to be betrayed and misled by the circus industry, and those affiliated, into believing that the animals are leading happy lives. We know now that we all can see wild animals as they were meant to live on Nat. Geo., The Animal Planet, and hundreds of other films and documentaries very available to all interested. The illusion and abuse need not continue and indeed a concerted effort is being made throughout the world in countries who believe in the words of Mahatma Ghandi, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Let those of us who understand and believe it is time to end this illusion and the profiteering by the abuse of these magnificent creatures, TAKE ACTION NOW, and make the circus animal free, which is already being done by more than 50 cities in the U.S. Watch the videos, read the reports, share the knowledge, so that our children will get to know wild animals as God created them.

This brief opinion is meant to provide food for thought, and if you see what I saw, perhaps enough energy for positive change will be generated to stop these senseless acts of cruelty. Speak for the animals with YOUR voice. Contact your city council members and tell them to stop allowing the abusive circus in your town.