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On Human and Nonhuman Circuses

The human circus that is a local election between a Republican who, among other huge corporate ties, is the political face of greyhound racing, and a Democrat who cheated on his wife has taken a bizarre turn. (You may recall that the cheating Democrat took the place of Mark Foley, a Republican disgraced for sending sexually explicit texts to pages.)

After the news broke about the affair Tim Mahoney had and that he paid off his mistress ($121,000, and it was his money and he hasn't denied it), voters were saying the affair wouldn't affect their decision on November 4. There was talk about separating what a person does at home from whether they do a good job for their constituents. When the local news polled people they said they were unmoved by the entire tawdry episode.

Fast forward 72 hours and voters have completely changed their tune. Why? Because voters will look the other way when you cheat on your wife, but they draw the line at cheating on your mistress. The reason the mistress broke off the affair with Mahoney was because he was cheating on her! No, not with his wife, but with yet another woman. Oh, and there were more women.

At first, Mahoney maintained his lead over pro-greyhound racing Rooney (his family owns a local track). But now that new details have come to the fore, Rooney has a double digit lead (26!). All because Tim Mahoney was arrogant enough, and stupid enough, to think that he wouldn't get caught and/or if he did it wouldn't matter.

Now, thanks to the behemoth ego of one man, greyhound racing will have a good friend in Congress. And there's no news worse for the dogs.

Regarding nonhuman circuses, the town of Newmarket, Ontario has proposed a law that would effectively ban animal circuses. (Just circuses, not other activities involving animals. There's a list of prohibited animals.) You can read more about the effort here, including a comment from GigglinGabby who, quite unsurprisingly as there's always one in the bunch, wants to keep the circus because it's a tradition and follows that with "It is just a circus."

But it is not just a circus, and greyhounds aren't just dogs. And sentience isn't just another trait we share with much of the nonhuman animal world.

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