Watching Topsy

The life of Topsy and the film about her electrocution are inseparable.

Whether seen or not by those who know anything about her, the film has come to define her life. I should write: the film defines her life through her death. And there is more about Topsy than her electrocution on Coney Island, New York.

My biography tells her life story. From when she was born in the jungle in Southeast Asia around 1875. To the tragic circumstances ending her life on the morning of Sunday, January 4, 1903.

I believe we owe it to Topsy to understand more about her than how she died. We cannot let the film obstruct us from finding out who she is.

‘I won’t watch the film.’

‘I can’t think about her because of what they did to her.’

‘Don’t talk to me about Topsy.’

These are all understandable reactions. They are legitimate concerns. But they unwittingly play into the hands of people today who cruelly abuse elephants. Further, scientists who experiment on animals, farmers who raise animals for food, and hunters who shoot animals for fun—do not want us to know what they do to them. They rely upon our lack of knowledge and inability to articulate our opposition to continue with their cruel behaviour.

I am not asking you to watch the film about her electrocution. I understand why you might choose not to. But I do need your help.

Topsy may be dead. But she is alive in my heart.

My book about her life and her death will keep her alive in my readers’ hearts. And it will inspire your fight for justice for all animals.