Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

John Hickenlooper asked by PETA to take mercy on Barnum & Bailey's elephants: Fat chance

Now, in the center ring, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper is about to get a chance to show mercy to elephants -- even if, as the Democratic candidate for governor, Hickenlooper has Republicans on the run in Colorado (with a major assist from the sideshow of Tom Tancredo's candidacy).

Turns out other elephants are in need of help. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is heading to town, and in advance of the circus train arriving in Denver tomorrow, PETA -- the very busy People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, including elephants -- has appealed to Hickenlooper, asking him to prevent the circus from forcing four elephants suffering from lameness and arthritis to do painful stunts. (Sounds kind of like watching Dan Maes debate.)

"Forcing elephants to perform uncomfortable tricks and painful contortions despite the animals' ill health is cruel -- and it could be a death sentence," PETA director Debbie Leahy said in a prepared announcement. "Because Ringling won't take proper care of these elephants, we are asking Mayor Becker to use his authority to protect them."

Um, Mayor Becker? We know a lot of people are lining up to run for mayor if/when Hickenlooper moves into the State Capitol, but we haven't heard of any Becker.

Looks like PETA has a national campaign going. Then again, the Republican National Committee did, too. It's working really well here in Colorado, a state where elephants are badly in need of some new tricks.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun