If you love animals, it might be time to look at some hard truths behind the spotlight of the circus – as hard as that may be. The treatment of circus animals has been investigated by world animal rights organizations for the past several decades and the stories of abuse and cruelty are abundant. Many popular organizations have been regularly cited for cruelty, poor conditions, and other offenses. Experts will tell you that wild animals fear fire, don’t stand on their hind legs, and certainly don’t ride bikes. They state that it takes a lot of abuse, fear, and confinement to create that unnatural behavior. Not all circuses resort to cruel practices, but by and large, there are few that consider circus animal rights. The evidence of abuse can be seen in incidents where circus animals went on rampages after years of abuse, attacked the public, and tried to injure themselves to escape a life of misery. Animal rights organizations have undercover video and first-hand accounts of circus animal controversies where animals were kicked, punched, restrained, and emotionally abused in order to illicit a performance, or sometimes for no reason whatsoever.
Circus Animals Are Not Designed to Live This Life
Circuses Are Regularly Cited by the USDA and Other Authorities
Every major animal circus has been cited for violating “minimal standards of care” established by the United States Animal Welfare Act, overseen by the USDA. Even though PETA, the Humane Society, and other animal rights organizations report abuse of circus animals, very few violators are prosecuted. They usually only pay fines.
There is some hope, though. Many communities have signed petitions banning circuses that use abuse to train animals.
Once Animals Outlive Their Usefulness, They May Have No Place to Go
Circus Animals Spend the Majority of Their Lives in Chains or Cages
During the off-season, animals are often kept in confinement in small cages or traveling crates, leading to psychological issues and often physical ailments. A common side effect of perpetual confinement is swaying and pacing.
According to PAWS, “virtually 96% of their lives are spent in chains or cages.” Around 11 months a year, animals travel across the country in box cars with no climate control; eating, sleeping, and defecating in the same cage. Some spend as many as 26 hours straight in their travel crates during a show and as long as 60 to 100 hours at a time when the circus travels.
Lack of Exercise and Long Hours of Standing Lead to Physical Ailments, Early Death
Severely Damaged Animals May Lash Out, Endangering Themselves and the Public
Some Trainers Use Muzzles, Electric Shock, Bullhooks, Whips, and Fear to Control Behavior
Laws Do Not Protect Circus Animals
Baby Elephants Can Be Bought for $2,000 – Fully Trained Elephants for $30,000
Some Circuses Are So Bad, Many Countries Have Banned Wild Animal Shows
– Nationwide ban on all animals in circuses: Cyprus, Greece, Malta, and Bolivia.
– Nationwide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, Israel, and Mexico
– Nationwide ban on the use of most wild animals in circuses: Belgium, Bulgaria, and The Netherlands
– Nationwide ban on the use of certain species in circuses: Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Portugal, Sweden, and India
– Nationwide ban on the use of native wild animals in circuses: Ecuador
– Nationwide ban on the use of wild-born animals in circuses: Estonia, Hungary, and Poland
-Local bans on the use of animals in circuses: Ireland, Norway, Spain, UK, USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Australia
And the list continues to grow.