10 things you can do besides visit the circus

Yes, PT Barnum was right: there’s a sucker born every minute. But you don’t have to be one! As the circus winds its way through your town, here are some cruelty-free alternatives:

1 – Visit a monster truck show. Humans have found a way to make trucks do amazing things, kind of like tigers and elephants but without the metal hooks, electric prods, torture, and cruelty. How cool is that? Plus, same exact crowd. Win/Win.

2 – Hang out in your front porch or under your carport, with a cooler of beer and Lynyrd Skynyrd on an endless loop. You might be contributing to the death of some brain cells, but that’s better than innocent animals. Just be sure to aim at the beer cans instead of your cousins when target practice starts.

3 – Visit a respected zoo or organization that rescues and cares for big cats, elephants, and other animals retired from “performing.” Ringling Bros. paid a fine of $275,000, the largest ever on record, for violating the Animal Welfare Act. Torture isn’t really open to interpretation. No matter what Dick Cheney says.

4 – Go see a Brad Paisley concert. His roadies aren’t routinely whipped and “managed” with scheduled beatings.

5 – Check out a circus without animal participants. Elephants suffer from sores, arthritis, TB, and aggression after being removed from their natural environment, forced into boxcars for up to 100 hours straight, and whipped in their most sensitive areas for not performing tricks that are unnatural to them.

6 – Attend a carnival or state fair. Risk your own life on that rickety ride or choke on a corn dog. At least no one forced you from your home and made you go.

7 – Take a trip to the mall. The wildlife is weirder than anything you can see under the Big Top, plus they sell cotton candy.

8 – On any given Sunday you can walk into a sports bar and find food on the floor, kids staring at a huge screen with their mouths open watching animals act in ways that are strange and unusual, while adults drink overpriced beer. After a few minutes, you won’t be able to tell the difference.

9 – Turn your television to TLC or CMT and leave it on all day. Added bonus: you never have to leave your couch.

10 – Enter the whole family in a mud run. (Hint: You don’t really have to run.) You get to mosey through wet farmland, swim in a muddy lake, and drink free beer afterwards. That’s right: free. When you get home, you’ll find bugs in places bugs shouldn’t be and it’ll take two or three showers to get really clean, but it still won’t feel as dirty as the circus.