Since childhood, the word “circus” evokes joyful emotions. Immediately one imagines merry clowns, dexterous acrobats and jugglers and, of course, trained animals. But is everything as joyful as it seems at first glance? Behind the beautiful tricks and perfect execution of the trainer’s commands by the animals there are years of joyless life. Statistics show that circus animals spend 90% of their lives in a cage, and the arena is the only place where they can feel a little freer.
5 reasons why animals don’t belong in the circus
Four-legged circus animals experience fear, depression, anxiety and other negative emotions while in closed environments. This impairs their quality of life and leads to dangerous situations.
Lack of familiar habitat
Audiences are usually attracted to the exotic, so the vast majority of circuses use tropical animals whose usual habitat is the jungle or African savannah. The circus ignores the fact whether a particular species lives in groups or alone, and keeps them in a way that is convenient for people.
Poor housing conditions
Circuses, as a rule, have no possibility to make comfortable cages and enclosures to house animals. Buildings where animals and birds are kept are poorly ventilated and in poor condition, and metal containers are used for transportation of animals. Active animals, such as monkeys, which in the natural environment are used to live in packs and climb trees, are deprived of such an opportunity. But elephants are the worst off in the circus. Here they are kept tethered and cannot take the water and mud baths they need for skin care. Because of the limited space, they cannot even lie down and have to stand still for long periods of time. As a result, most animals have mental disorders: they huddle in a corner, shake their heads, walk aimlessly around the cage for long periods of time or hit the floor and bars. These are all signs of anxiety and constant stress.
The use of violent training methods
The basis of any training is cruel treatment. In order to restrain a wild animal, to force it to perform actions that are not typical for it, a person uses violence. For example, bears are driven onto a hot surface and put on music in an attempt to “teach them to dance”. Beat lion cubs and tiger cubs with a whip to teach them to follow commands. Using a stun gun, horses are forced to stand on their hind legs in incredible pain. For trainers, the only way to make animals obey is to make them fear punishment.
Danger to spectators and trainers
A performance involving trained animals can cause physical harm to the audience. Due to constant stress and improper housing, animals can get out of control and attack people. In addition, not all animals lose their will under harsh training and often attack their tormentors.
Visiting the circus can have a negative impact on the psyche of children. Kids who observe the trainer’s treatment of the animal form a wrong perception of the principles of coexistence between humans and the rest of the animal world. They do not see animals as living beings, but consider them toys without will and character.
Sad old age
Over time, when circus animals grow old and cannot take part in performances and bring income to their owners, they are at best sent to zoos, and sometimes simply left in cages until death. At worst, they are given to hunting farms, where they become a target for hunters, or simply slaughtered for meat. This is how the life of four-legged circus animals sadly ends.
Why and when did the circus have animals
The first mention of the circus dates back to the times of ancient Rome. Gladiator fights, chariot races and horse races were organized for spectators, which had nothing in common with the idea of modern circus art. Only in 1770 the Englishman Philip Astley, being a military man and a professional horseman, opened a riding school with a round arena, which was called an amphitheater. It was here that paid performances demonstrating tricks of equestrian acrobatics first began to take place. Over time, as the circus grew in popularity and prosperity, Astley added musicians, clowns, jugglers, tightrope walkers, acrobats, trainers and dancing dogs to the show.
What each of us can do to stop torturing animals for fun
Now the entire civilized world is abandoning the cruel inhumane practice. More than 50 countries have a complete or partial taboo on the participation of animals in circuses. Each of us can help unfortunate animals and not sponsor the bloody business. It is very simple – to refuse to visit circuses and dolphinariums. After all, demand creates supply, and it is in our power to stop the abuse of animals by simply stopping paying.
There are quite a few ways that help circuses not lose their regular audience and delight them with new shows:
- The German Ronkel Circus has found an original way out of the situation and uses holograms instead of live animals. This circus is more than 40 years old. Even before the use of holograms began, it started to gradually reduce the number of animals in the shows.
- The world-famous French Cirque du Soleil, which performs on five continents, emphasizes in its program only a real circus and aesthetic show. The principled position of the management is to refuse the participation of animals in circus programs.
- The second flagship of the circus industry, China State Circus, also adheres to the same stance.
As practice shows, the success of the circus is ensured even without the participation of animals.