As a young boy I was taken to Calderpark Zoo and had a great time for most of the day until I visited the Polar Bear section, there standing on a rock was a quite magnificent Polar Bear staring back at those of us who had gathered to stare at him; we kids were amused by him as he swayed from right to left in big movements while staying on the same spot. A couple of hours later; I don't know why but I went back to see him before leaving the Zoo for home and there he was still swaying back and forth just as he had been 2 hours previously. I asked the keeper why he was doing that and he told me that he was completely crazy and demented and he did this every day from morning to night and had been doing it for years, this was the result of unending years of captivity he explained, he is an animal which in the wild has a habitat of hundreds of miles and was now confined to a few hundred yards around a fetid pool with junk food floating around it. My brothers and me resolved to come back and break in and release him, we never did of course but I have never forgotten that day and that poor demented wild animal and that was approx. 55 years ago.
I saw Monkeys; Lions; Tigers and many other species all of whom seemed to accept their fate as they lay in the sun staring back at the visitors but; the Polar Bear instinctively made me want to set them all free, a feeling which to this day has never left me. Some 35 or so years after this I wandered out with my dog to have a look round the Circus which was pitched up near my home at St. James's Park this Circus had one Elephant which slept in a covered trailer which afforded it about a metre of space around it and lions which were kept chained in a circle behind a fence which restricted their movement to a few feet, I found it difficult to stand and watch these quite magnificent creatures being treated like this for our amusement that is why yesterday was a great day.
Yesterday the House of Commons banned Circuses from using animals; ending hundreds of years of cruelty which we are all guilty of tolerating; not in a conscious sense because it is a cause which has snowballed in recent years making everyone more aware of what had been going on and making us think more about it and ask if it is justified. Even the Circus owners would argue and still do that they are not cruel to their animals and I have some sympathy with Circus people who have lived this way for generations and most of them do indeed love their animals but more and more the world is realizing that keeping such animals in these conditions is indeed cruel whether knowingly or not and now thank God it will stop.
As always with the House of Commons a mystery arose, it would appear that the Government decided to go to some strange lengths to defeat the bill, turning what was a free vote into a three line whip and threatening Tory MP's with all sorts if they supported it. Enthusiastic hunter and shooter of wild animals Prime Minister Cameron was apparently behind these failed tactics but people now are asking the question why? Why did he go out on a limb against a bill which was so popular, will we ever know?
Animal cruelty still goes on here and in other countries, Bear Baiting, Bull Fighting, Dolphins and Killer Whales in pools and big game hunting is still rife, all for our amusement and all to feed the most voracious beasts of all, Capitalism and the great God money. All of it needs to be stopped; cruelty for profit is not acceptable we are after all human beings are we not? I look forward to the day when these cruel practices are confined to history and all animals return to the wild where they belong. All too late alas for that poor beautiful Calderpark Polar Bear.