I don’t know why I am still surprised by some of the things that I read, but this one managed to do it. To be fair, I do need to say that this whole sorry tale took place back in 1903, however the fact that it took place in the USA, the insanity still resonates loud & strong.
Topsy was a domesticated 28-year-old elephant that belonged to a circus in Coney Island. She had killed 3 men in 3 years, the last being her abusive trainer who attempted to feed her a lit cigarette. It is probably worth considering at this point that Topsy was actually highly intelligent and the 3 people she killed, she did so to save them from themselves because there is a good chance that all of them were fucking idiots. To be fair, there are no records to support this.
Anyway, it was decided that Topsy posed a threat to humans and had to be killed. Now, this is the interesting part. You have this problem, you need to kill an elephant. Why not just shoot the poor thing. Given that Americans had the firepower to do this, it would make sense (usually). But no, our cousins across the pond decided that Topsy had to be executed!!!!! Wait, it gets even worse. Initial thoughts were that they were going to hang her!! That thought remained until the ASPCA complained and the responsible geniuses moved to plan B – we will electrocute her instead! Just to be completely sure we will also feed her a pile of carrots containing 450 grams of cyanide. So this well thought through cunning plan took place on January 4, 1903, in front of an intimate crowd of 1,500 people. If you do a search on the internet you can even watched footage of this insanity.
And people wonder why I would never, ever live in America.