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This past December, I got to run away to Florida for a few days and while there, I made a quick stop in Sarasota at the Big Cat Habitat (www.bigcathabitat.org). I just posted the above photos on Facebook without an explanation, and a friend commented on them, appalled because she thought I was at a circus. Her reaction is entirely justified and it brought to mind a few things I wanted to write about. 

1. Circuses are exploitative and cruel. Their main priority is profit, not the welfare of their animals. There is no quality of life, often abuse and neglect, and the shows and living situations often result in severe mental and physical injury. Though you may see a charming show filled with excitement and fun, the animal is kept in line using fear and physical punishment, not positive reinforcement and bonding. 

2. As long as circuses exist, so will places like this sanctuary. Tasked with the job of rescuing exotic animals from neglectful or abusive situations, places like Big Cat Habitat (which is home to bears, lions, ligers, tigers, monkeys, birds, and everything else under the sun) are forced to find ways to compete with the monster they’re fighting, not just to divert interest away from that sort of abuse, but also to raise money to fund the battle. All those animals eat TONS of food, and very expensive food at that. Most of them are on some sort of supplement or medication. They require a lot of care. It’s a lot of work, and it costs a lot of money. And an animal show is one of the best and only ways for them to raise that kind of money. 

3. I understand the desire to go see interesting foreign animals and watch them jump through hoops. It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s exciting. But rather than support an industry like circuses, look up a local sanctuary and see if they have some sort of demonstration day. It may be a feeding, a pay-to-play, or an animal show… none of which are great, but all of which at least support a worthy cause. Go visit them, give THEM your money. And hopefully some day their work won’t be necessary anymore. 

Curami coi sogni che hai saputo darmi, toglimi dai drammi, dammi solo quanto basta e su ogni cassa squarterò gli affanni. Passa gli anni accanto a me che invecchieremo insieme, come pelle sul mio corpo o sangue nelle vene.
—  MezzoSangue, Armonia & Caos
Impromptu - Six

Impromptu - Six 

Elsa could barely remember what happened, everything occurred in a stupor of colours and movement. Now she found herself standing in the middle of a tightrope, holding nothing but a bright-red parasol in her hands.

There was no safety net underneath her, no cord to tether her in, nothing to prevent her from plunging to her inevitable death.

“Oh, my dearest,” she heard someone calling. Elsa glanced up to see Jack Frost lounging on a velvet-red throne on the platform in front of her, grinning deviously, “don’t fall now.” 

Elsa took a step towards him, the rope wobbled underneath her feet.

She gasped, dropping the open-parasol. It slowly tumbled its way to the ground in gentle swirls: Elsa’s fall would not be so graceful.

“Give us a good show, won’t you?” Jack cooed.

Elsa took another step.

The rope shook.

She slipped. 

And shrieked, plummeting down to the snow-covered ground. 

Impromptu Part Six of Eight 

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Cirque Bijou, Bridging the gap- high wire display

I love how this kind of thing happens in Bristol