The circus is in town for Chicagoans this month, but it could be the very last time — if the animal-rights nuts at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals get their way. The anti-everything group has an ally in Chicago Alderman Mary Ann Smith, who has been trying this year to do PETA’s bidding by involving city government in how elephant trainers do their work. We don’t live in Chicago, but we envy those of you who do. It must be fantastic to live in a city with plummeting crime rates, no poverty to speak of, stellar public education, and a reliably balanced budget. How else could the City Council justify spending time telling the circus how to help Jumbo astound and amaze small children from a safe distance?
We heard similar arguments two years ago when a few Chicago Aldermen pushed a ban of the culinary delicacy foie gras through a legislative committee — and then through the full City Council — at the request of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Didn’t lawmakers have anything better to do? Apparently not. And two years later, amid guffaws and ridicule from every corner of the country, they finally repealed what Mayor Richard Daley had called Chicago’s "silliest law ever."
This week we’re reminding Chicago Aldermen — and Chicago media — about the laughingstock that Chicago became in 2006 by bowing to animal-rights pressure and becoming the "tofu butcher to the world." Do they really want to go there again? Do they really think the circus will come back if they do?
"PETA has argued in court that elephants would be better off dead in Africa," our letter to City Council members says, "than alive in American zoos and circuses. PETA kills thousands of dogs and cats at its Virginia headquarters every year. It’s a mystery why Chicago lawmakers would risk their reputations for this bunch of hypocrites."