Last updated: April 13. 2013 8:59PM - 682 Views

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Advocate cites

circus suffering

Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus is coming to the arena in a few short weeks. We would like people to consider this view point out of concern for the animals involved. The circus rips animals from their natural habitat, forces them to live most of their lives chained inside of trailers that are trucked across hundreds of miles, and then forces them to perform under the constant threat of punishment.

The key to saving endangered species lies in saving their habitat, not removing them from it only to place them in an unnatural environment. Their captive state provides no educational value. It tells us nothing about nature, because it is so artificial.

The only group that profits from the circus is the circus business itself. While human entertainers may thrive on the attention of the circus, the animals do not—it is something they are forced to endure. The circus is no fun for animals. The tricks performed do not even come close to mimicking these animals’ normal and natural actions and behaviors.

Captivity of wild animals provides an environment of fear, boredom, illness, and anxiety. They are denied all that is natural to them—food, activity, socialization, and natural behaviors. Pacing, bar biting, circling, and self-mutilation are common among performing animals. This is now recognized as neurotic behavior caused by captivity and an unnatural lifestyle. The whips, muzzles, chains, and other “tools” used in circuses are constant visual reminders that these animals are being forced to perform out of fear. We say that circuses allow us to feel a closeness to nature, when in fact it is the steel bars that instead emphasize and reinforce the separation between human and animal.

Performing elephants are shackled in chains for 95 percent of their lives. Tigers are kept in cages four by five feet for transportation as well as living quarters. Steel rods, whips, muzzles, electric prods, food and water deprivation, hooking, paw burning, application of caustic chemicals, chains, and isolation are the training methods used. These animals’ spirits have been broken, they are degraded, isolated, shackled, lonely, and bored — this is not entertainment.

Circuses teach children that it is okay to dominate, whip, chain, and beat another living, feeling being. This insensitivity surely is not something that most parents would like their children to learn. Circus animals are kept in cages that are too small to allow for movement, or they are chained to keep them stationary. They are prisoners of profit and cruelty. Performing animals are prisoners who have committed no crime. Let the animal circus join bear baiting, cockfighting, and bull baiting in the dustpan of antique abuses that no longer entertain us.

For those who think the animal circus is a tradition that’s part of our heritage, remember that children in mines and slavery were as well. Animals perform out of fear. The admission fee isn’t the only price paid. The animals pay a price with their sanity and their lives. Once these animals are “used up” or begin to exhibit aggressive behaviors, they are often sold to exotic animal dealers and canned hunt farms to be used as targets. Circus animals lead lonely miserable lives. Depending on the availability of food, tigers in the wild secure a territory of 75 to 2,000 square miles.

The only exercise tigers get is when they are forced to perform.

Please say no to this cruelty and stop giving your dollars for this vicious cycle to continue. For more information contact circuses.com HSUS.org PETA.org

Patricia Marks


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