Should wild animals perform in circus shows?

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In 2010, Dawn Brancheau, a Seaworld trainer, died after an attack from Tilikum, an orca whale at Seaworld and one of the San Diego park’s main attractions. The documentary Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum and his long-term trainer Brancheau, and the psychological trauma and stress the whales in the water park endure while in captivity. Blackfish also describes Tilikum’s journey to Seaworld, and how the multi-billion dollar animal park industry runs despite pressure from animal rights groups to shut down. Brancheau, who had 17 years of experience, was feeding Tilikum and having bonding time with him when Tilikum suddenly dragged her into the water and violently tossed her around. Brancheau ultimately drowned and died from horrible injuries.

Death at Seaworld author David Kirby told CNN that Seaworld blamed the trainer for her death. Following her death, the amusement park company insisted that Brancheau shouldn’t have put herself in such a dangerous position and allowed her ponytail to come close to Tilikum’s mouth, which prompted him to drag her into the water. 

After four Seaworld employees said that the trainer completely followed protocol, Kirby concluded that the trainer’s death was not her fault. The reason for the attack was due to the whale’s stress from being held in captivity.

“I’ve spoken to scientists who tell me that they believe there are signs these animals are stressed out…in the wild we don’t get up close with killer whales, it only happens at Seaworld,” he said. Normally, killer whales in the wild do not attack humans, only when they’re away from their homes, families, and friends, have there been incidents. 

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While Kirby and the consulted scientists believe animals should not perform in animal entertainment  shows, English circus trainer, Thomas Chipperfield, believes otherwise. Chopperfield runs a show called “”An Evening with Lions and Tigers,” where he trains animals to perform tricks in front of a live audience. The professional believes that because the animals have regular health checks and are properly trained, there is no issue with them performing in circus shows.  

“I’ve never been worried working with my animals, I’ve always respected what they are and remembered what they are when working with them, and I don’t force them into performing actions they’re not comfortable doing, that’s not the way I work with my animals. The way I introduce them to new actions is on a gradual basis,” Chipperfield said.

He also claims that the general public approves of the entertainment form (despite what the polls say), because otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to do what he does. As long as the animals are well cared for, there is no issue with using animals as entertainment value, he said. 

Below are a few pros and cons of having animals perform in circus shows:

Pros: 

  • Animals provide entertainment/amusement
  • They can be used as animal education
  • Animals are kept safe/ healthy with regimented food and medication that they

wouldn’t get in the wild. 

  • Anyone could have access to an exhibit, which could connect people to animals, and serve as educational lessons about animals

Cons

  • Animals are forced to do the tricks that do not come naturally and are the result of endless hours of training and sometimes abuse
  • They’re kept in cages, or (shallow tanks) while circuses travel
  • Animals are taken away from their families and become lonely and sad
  • Animals sometimes suffer from abuse (some trainers whip and beat animals)
  • Not much is learned by watching animals perform tricks that they’ve been taught by trainers, the best way to learn about animals is to see them in their natural habitat
  • The acts could be a public safety hazard because the animals are unpredictable and often become violent or aggressive towards people as they experience such harsh conditions. People could get hurt
  • They live in close confinement and have restricted movement, which restricts

natural behaviors and leads to animals living with other creatures they shouldn’t be exposed to. This could be dangerous for the animals who aren’t used to certain predators. 

Animal entertainment shows have long been part of our entertainment. It’s not only the spectators who benefit from these shows. The ticket profits can also help the economy as sales bring visitors to a city. Park owners also benefit by making more than enough to support themselves and their business. Now, there aren’t as many animal circus acts in the world, because animal rights protestors and groups have worked hard to protect the animals from being abused. Peta is the largest animal rights group in the world and they urge everyone not to purchase Seaworld tickets, visit the parks, or support it in any way. Peta protesters claim that captivity (whether at Seaworld or in a circus act) “kills these animals, and they deserve to be safely returned to their home while still benefiting from humans’ care for as long as they might need to.” 

Should the Voting Age be Lowered to 16?

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Lowering the Voting Age to 16: Views for and Against

In many areas of the world, once you turn 16-years-old you’re eligible for a special right, a right that allows you to take part in shaping your community and your nation. Countries such as Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua have already lowered the voting age to 16. In 1971, the United States lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, after millions of Americans protested against the Vietnam war and declared that if 18-year-olds were old enough to fight and die for their country, they should be able to vote in federal elections as well. Now there’s a push to make the voting age 16. Is lowering the age beneficial or problematic? Continue reading

Composition of Opinion

Structure of Composition of Opinion

Paragraph I: Introduction. Present the issue/ the question with an opening paragraph. Present you own opinion.  

Paragraph II: First argument to support your opinion.

Paragraph III: Second argument to support your opinion.

Paragraph IV: Summary. To sum up, I believe … because A and B. You can add a suggestion  or a recommendation here.  Continue reading

Speaking- useful phrases

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Speaking- useful phrases

Comparing: Contrasting:
In the same way

Similarly 

Be similar to

Not only… but also

Likewise

Like

As…as…

More/less than

Both/ as well/ also/ too

On the one/ other hand

Instead of

Rather than

Unlike

In contrast to

As opposed to

But/ however

While/ whereas

Although/ though/ even though

Continue reading

Should kids be allowed to take on dangerous challenges?

Should kids be allowed to take on dangerous challenges?

Many kids like to participate in high-energy activities like skateboarding, snowboarding and skiing. These activities involve some safety risks, and kids who wear helmets and padding are taking smart measures to protect themselves. But are some activities and challenges just too risky for kids to attempt?

A few years ago, teenager Laura Dekker sailed around the world by herself. This month, Jayden Larson, a 10 year old boy from Minnesota, won a big racing event, driving at fast speeds around a track.

Tyler Armstrong, 11, recently announced plans to become the youngest mountaineer to climb Mount Everest, in the Himalayas. His larger goal is to climb the so-called seven summits, some of the tallest mountains in the world. Everest is challenging for the most experienced climbers, and a number of fatal accidents have happened there. Many adults in the climbing community have criticized Tyler’s goal.  Continue reading

A Test to be British

A Test to be British

Paul Keller, BBC

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About ninety thousand adults apply to become British citizens every year. Now each and every one of them will have to take a written test before they can qualify as citizens. This report from Paul Keller

For years those becoming British citizens simply had to swear an oath of allegiance in front of a lawyer and then receive a certificate in the post. But in 2004 Britain introduced a compulsory citizenship ceremony which required new citizens to take a broader oath promising to respect Britain’s rights, freedoms and laws and all of this in front of civic dignitaries dressed in full regalia. Now the government is going even further: it’s launching a test designed to establish knowledge of the country and its language.  Continue reading

Affirmative Action – Pros and Cons

Should affirmative action policies, which give preferential treatment based on minority status, be eliminated? 

Overview/Background

Affirmative action generally means giving preferential treatment to minorities in admission to universities or employment in government & businesses. The policies were originally developed to correct decades of discrimination and to give disadvantaged minorities a boost. The diversity of our current society as opposed to that of 50 years ago seem to indicate the programs have been a success. But now, many think the policies are no longer needed and that they lead to more problems than they solve.

One notable example is a case argued a few years back in the Supreme Court concerning admissions to the University of Michigan. The school had a policy of rating potential applicants on a point system. Being a minority student earned you more than twice as many points as achieving a perfect SAT score. Three white students sued citing this as raced-based discrimination. School officials said that diversity is desirable and affirmative action is the only way to achieve true diversity. Several other cases involving affirmative action have followed similar arguments.

The following sections explore the issue and show how things are much more complicated.  Continue reading