As I stared at this week's cover photo of Swap Shop owner Preston Henn ("The Sultan of Swap," October 1, Sean Rowe) holding a bull hook in front of two of their immense circus elephants, I couldn't help but think back to 1990 when Carol the elephant (who is still performing at the flea market), "accidentally" stepped on her handler and crushed him to death. Please Carol, a couple steps forward and do Broward County a favor.
Taking a Swipe at the Sultan of Swap
The photo of Swap Shop owner Preston Henn posing defiantly with a bull hook on the cover of the New Times spoke volumes about his true nature. Although the article provided much insight into this magnate of cheap merchandise, citing as one of his heroes a CEO of a major corporation known for massive and expeditious layoffs, his brandishing (rather than hiding) of an instrument of animal torment illustrates misplaced values.
The three aging and tired-looking elephants and the lame tiger occasionally seen at the mega-flea market's semipermanent circus have felt the jab of the hook and the sting of the whip, I'm sure on many occasions. Wild animals must be "broken" by force in order to perform the demeaning and unnatural tricks circusgoers are treated to.
It's futile to try to change people like Henn, who practice dominance over animals and employees like it was a religion. Shoppers, on the other hand, can make ethical choices by not patronizing establishments that rely on human and/ or animal exploitation in order to turn a profit.