Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The life of a circus animal....
Living conditions: Most animals used in the circus are meant to live in the wild. Instead of their natural habitats where they would roam free and live on their natural instincts, they are forced to live and travel in cramped quarters far smaller than their habitats in the wild. They are often forced to eat, sleep and even defecate in the same place. Circuses travel to many locations and water is limited in some locations, bathing and cleaning the animals living quarters is given low priority where water is limited. Unfortunately, this limitation extends to their drinking water as well.
Elephants are kept with their feet chained down for long periods of time. Baby elephants are prematurely removed from their mothers for the purpose of early training. They are tied with ropes, which leads to rope burn. Many circuses give no consideration to climate and the animals are exposed to extreme heat or cold. In addition, their diets do not consist of what they would naturally and they are sometimes underfed in the interest of getting an ideal performance. Disease is common among circus animals. Veterinarians qualified to treat exotic animals are not always present and circus animals frequently suffer inadequate veterinary care.
Training: Ever wonder how circuses manage to get the animals to perform so well? Animals do not perform the acts you see in the circus naturally. They have to be trained, often by extreme methods. They are traumatized in to obeying their human ‘trainers” commands. Bull hooks are often driven in to the tender areas of an elephant’s body to make it cooperate. Electric shock, whips, baseball bats and pipes are also among the methods used to force the animals to cooperate in training. Some animals are kept muzzled to subdue them and discourage them from defending themselves if they feel threatened. Some animals are drugged to make them manageable and some have their teeth removed. Some bears have had their paws burned to force them to stand on their hind legs.
Mental distress: the combination of the above circumstances and other factors lead to mental distress in circus animals. There have been many cases of animals attacking humans and escaping. Since 1990, attacks by captive big cats have resulted in 46 humans deaths and the killing of 70 big cats Since 1990, 13 humans have been killed by captive bears. 8 of them were children. Attacks have also resulted in 26 bears being killed Since 1990, attacks by captive primates have resulted in 2 humans deaths, 130 human injuries, and the killing of 450 primates. Since 1990, 57 people have been killed by captive elephants.120 people were injured.
When you think about how they are treated, can you blame them for attacking? What must they think of humans? They don’t ask for the miserable lifestyle circus performance subjects them to “Retirement” for circus animals: Animals with many other forms of animal “entertainment”, once the animal can no longer perform, it is not much value to the circus. They may be permanently caged, sold to a game farm to be hunted, or sold to a lab. What you can do
DON’T visit circuses that have animals. There are a number of cruelty free circuses that only display human acts. For a list of cruelty free circuses, please visit Circuses that do not use animal acts. Lawfully protest circuses that contain animal acts. Educate potential visitors about what really goes on in some circuses. Urge local animal control and the humane society to carefully monitor the care and treatment of animals when a circus with animals comes to your area. Urge lawmakers to ban animal entertainment acts and show your support for those that do.