Elephants Never Forget Animal Cruelty

Elephants Never Forget Animal Cruelty
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.88

     challenging words:    cubicle, humane, poker, pokers, stress-reliever, Zoot, heartbroken, originally, effective, wounds, extremely, organization, medical, solution, founded, environment
     content words:    Henry Bergh, American Society, Madison Square Garden, Zoot Enterprises, Their Human Resources Director, Ruth Kronfuss

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Elephants Never Forget Animal Cruelty
By Colleen Messina

1     Being kind to animals might seem like an obvious thing to do, but not everyone treats animals well. Some people, like Henry Bergh, wanted to be sure all animals were treated with kindness. Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in 1866. Originally, he founded this organization in order to help horses and livestock. The group also helped cats and dogs.
2     Bergh later learned that circus animals, especially elephants, were treated badly. Bergh wanted to help these animals, too. Bergh discovered that circus trainers used hot pokers to control the circus elephants. Some people believe that "elephants never forget," but these circus elephants might wish that they could! In 1879, Bergh arrested a trainer for putting a hot poker up an elephant's trunk.
3     P.T. Barnum may have had the greatest show on earth, but Bergh found out that the animals in the circus also suffered in other ways. Fires caused animals' deaths three times. The animals had horrible housing. Barnum finally listened to Bergh. Bergh suggested larger, stronger cages. He told Barnum to stop using flammable straw bedding. He also recommended using fireproofing devices at the Madison Square Garden during performances. These steps helped the circus animals stay safer.
4     Today, former circus workers have stated that horrible conditions still exist for the elephants. They say that elephants are often kept in chains for 23 hours a day. The animals are beaten. Baby elephants are weaned from their mothers at only two years old. In the wild, elephants nurse until they are four years old. The ASPCA has a policy against using wild animal in circuses and carnivals. They believe that the circus environment is too stressful for animals.
5     Animal cruelty takes many forms. Some people are cruel to animals on purpose by depriving their pets of food, water, or medical attention. Animals that are not receiving attention might look extremely thin. They might be left outside without food or water. Dogs might be left outside in bad weather conditions. They might have wounds or bald patches on their skin.

Paragraphs 6 to 11:
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Extended Activities:

1.  Interview a worker at a local animal shelter about his or her experiences with rescued animals. Write up a summary of your interview.

2.  Research animal cruelty laws in your state and write up a description of them.

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