circus animals




The life of a circus animal is hard and demanding. It is not an acceptable way of life for an animal. Circuses would quickly lose their appeal if the public were more aware of their mistreatments of these animals. Many circuses do not have much money and as a result the animals suffer from inadequate care. These animals spend most of their time in small cages used for transportation. The Animal Welfare Act provides cage requirements, but many circuses fail to follow this law. Even the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus was cited for 65 violations over a two-year period according to Florence Lambert. When traveling, animals spend hours, even days between sites in confinement..
A water supply is not always readily available in all locations, leaving many animals with out water. Furthermore, with out water, cleaning becomes a low priority. This is very hard on animals especially elephants who bathe frequently in their natural environment.
But, the circus environment is very different from an animal’s natural habitats. Summer can be hard on animals such as bears, while lions, can suffer more in winter months. Veterinarians qualified to treat exotic animals, are not always present or available. As a result animals suffer and die due to the lack of proper medical attention.
Physical confinement is very harmful physiologically and psychologically. The Born Free Foundation conducted a study that found that 22% of the time confined elephant’s present abnormal action, like repeated head bobbing or swaying. Confined bears spend 30% of their time pacing.
Training is another concern. Physical punishment has long been the standard training method for animals in circuses. These methods are simply cruel. They include the use of electric prods, whips, and even some animals especially large cats, have their teeth removed. Bears balancing on balls, apes riding motorcycles, elephants standing on two legs are acts that are physically uncomfortable and behaviorally unnatural. Such “performances” do not teach audiences about how animals behave under normal circumstances. Instead, they are often portrayed as ferocious and stupid.
The effect of cruel animal treatment in circuses is becoming more and more apparentIn 1994 the Fox Show Animals fighting back an African elephant killed her trainer and injured 13 people before being shot to death. A few years ago a Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey trainer was mauled by a tiger leaving him paralyzed for life. The tiger was shot to death.
However this isn’t the end. Those who out live their usefulness as performers are usually sold to smaller circuses, private managers, or game farms. The lucky ones are given to zoos. In the past circuses were a way of learning about exotic animal. Today we have TV, education, and travel, to give us access to the natural habitat of almost every animal. There is no reason for circuses to use animals any more. Circuses using snimals are finding it hard to find places to show because more people become aware of the cruelty involved in forcing animals to perform. Several countries have banned such circuses; among them are Sweden, India and Switzerland. England has banned such circuses on public land.
You can help end the mistreatment of animals. By withdrawing your support. If circuses don’t have any support they cannot continue.
To conclude, Circus animal acts do not achieve any worthwhile goals in education, research, or conservation. They rely on a show of man’s dominance over the animal and inevitably present a distorted view of wildlife.
As Former Ringling Brothers Circus employee, Eugene Pigeon put it “Animals in circuses are not happy, healthy “pets” treated with compassion and respect. They are wild animals, forced to live in cramped, crowed conditions, and are brutally trained to perform demeaning tricks, which has at times driven some to the point of insanity.


Bibliography: