Remember Devo? The band from the early ’80s whose iconic song, “Whip It,” is still played today? They’re taking that song and rebranding it for an amazing cause – big cats in circuses. The song, which the group says was about overcoming adversity, can apply to this problem, too. Now, Devo’s “Whip It” will help PETA in the fight to release big cats from circuses.
Problems with big cats in circuses have been present for forever
Ringling Bros. has come under heavy fire for their use of animals, like big cats, in circuses. It’s so bad that, as recently as 2013, PETA was repeatedly asking the city of Chicago to investigate the circus for the way it treats its animals. The USDA has also repeatedly cited Ringling Bros. for their terrible treatment of animals in general, and tigers in specific.
They’ve kept tigers in very small cages, and in boxcars without good climate control. Their tigers have almost died from the heat inside the cars.
Where does “Whip It” come in?
“Whip It” has a long history of use in commercials and videos, but the whole point here is to bring attention to the abuse—including whipping—that goes on in circus training. PETA’s senior vice president, Dan Mathews, was able to ask for Devo’s help in fighting big cats in circuses in part because he’s known the singer/bassist, Gerald Casale, for a long time.
They’re focused on the use of cattle prods to train elephants, which is a major focus of many animal rights groups fighting animals in circuses. Mathews asked Casale to direct a video aimed at raising awareness of the problem, which then moved Casale to do something about it.
Devo will donate a portion of the proceeds to PETA to help fight for this cause.
Using “Whip It” to do this only makes sense:
“Obviously, ‘Whip It’ being the song that has perennially produced the most royalty income and been the most used in TV and movies and video games, it was the obvious choice. Not to mention the irony of the title and the gallows humor there.”
Ringling Bros. has announced that they will start retiring elephants from their circus, but this effort won’t solve the problem of big cats in circuses. Still, some progress is better than no progress at all. We can only hope that this is merely a first step, and that Devo’s and PETA’s work will help.