Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Abuse of Topsy

In the early 1900's, a performance elephant named Topsy was the subject of a brutal and abusive execution. The elephant killed a spectator in 1902 and was soon after sentenced to death. The idea was to publically hang the elephant and to charge people admission to the show; an idea that was quickly shot down by early animal rights foundations. Instead however, the elephant was publicly fed poison, hanged, and electrocuted on film, which was later sold and is still available to be viewed. This film is a perfect case of animal abuse. Although this animal did cause the death of a human, it is in no way justified for the animal to have been triply harmed to induce death in such a public and humiliating way. The film does nothing at all to highlight on the issues of animal abuse and was instead marketed as a spectacle that the public could enjoy. The film and the story of Topsy have been brought back to the public's eye via a semi-fictional manner by the show Bob's Burgers. One episode of the show discusses the Topsy execution and fights what was at the time of the execution an accepted event. This case of animal abuse did happen a long time ago, but it does not take away from the severity of the abuse that this elephant underwent. Nowadays, abuse does not generally carry these same intensities, but it is still very prevalent for many animals (too many) just as it was for Topsy.

(scroll down to the video)

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