“Hooray!!” The family cry, “the circus is in town!” A time to come together with your friends and family and watch crazy clowns juggle, mystical magicians make ladies disappear and oh wait…, tigers and elephants being forced to perform tricks causing them unbearable, torturous pain for the pure entertainment of us human beings. Oh, and if they refuse, a whole lot of whipping, just to cause them further pain. Not so appealing now, right?
Although circuses with exotic and domestic animals has significantly declined within the past 10 years for the UK, there is still a number of circuses which still do travel with animals, and even one circus doing this is one too many, considering the conditions the animals must endure. Not only do the animals have to perform strenuous tricks and live in shocking living conditions, they also have to face the stress of travelling on the road for large periods at a time. Let’s face it, it’s not like you can exactly stop at a service station and take your pet circus lion for a walk is it? These animals are encaged for days, in absolute darkness whilst on the move with their cages rattling along the highways. This is no fit environment for an animal whose natural way of life is unlimited freedom in open lands where they can roam till their hearts content.
Thankfully, within the UK, from a random survey there proves to be no correlation between animal’s numbers and audience attendance. (Thank-you humans of the UK.) For example, Jay Miller’s circus attracted a high audience attendance of 300 however only included one pony within their act. Similarly, the circus with the largest amount of animals attracted the least amount of customers. The answer? Animals are not needed in circuses; period. They can’t sign an agreement to perform in them, they don’t receive a pay packet at the end of the week for their efforts, so just because they don’t have a human voice, they are exploited to be used and abused for the profits of money grabbing people.
Circus animals regularly show behaviour linked to madness such as repetitive swaying and pacing, proving that keeping them in these conditions is internally destroying them physically and psychologically. Animals weren’t put on this planet to perform for us. They weren’t put on this planet to balance on balls precariously, jump through fatal rings of fire or balance in positions their bodies shouldn’t even be able to balance in. These animals are mistreated and abused on a regular basis. In 2011, for example, Annie the Asian elephant of Bobby Robert’s Super Circus was filmed being battered with pitchforks, kicked in the face and body multiple times, and chained up, being unable to move from her suffering. The 57-year-old elephant at the time, was persistently beaten on her arthritic leg and was confined to the small enclosure for days on end. The video below, is not for the faint hearted or avid animal lover and the scenes are truly disturbing to watch.
Caution: This video may be a distressing watch.
Moira Roberts who runs the circus with her husband Bobby, exclaimed they reacted with “shock and horror” as they watched the footage, claiming they had no idea what was going on.
Thankfully, Annie is now at home in a more habitable environment; Longleat Safari Park. Although there have been concerns of her still being chained up, the park officers argue this is only for the safety of the Longleat staff and veterinarians during her veterinary treatment. However, the debate still prevails weather or not animals should be in captivity at all.
Circus Life Today
At current date, The Born Free Foundation has issued a statement claiming it is highly unlikely for the UK government to put forward their agreement to ban all exotic animals within circuses in the UK before 2015. This seems incomprehensible. How can they continue to allow exotic animals, any animal for that matter, to be tortured and faced with these profiteering acts, which are harming these animals to their death beds?
Horrifically, the animal circus business is even worse within other countries, particularly within the USA. Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bayley Circus brag that they travel 30,000 miles in 11 months, visiting more than 140 cities in North America. I wouldn’t think this something to boast about, considering the animals that travel with them are constrained to miniscule cages, only allowed to be let out when they perform. The animals are often reported to have harmed and attacked circus performers or vets, but can you blame them? These animals are being pushed to their absolute limits, and just like any human, they snap through the only way they know how.
As a child, growing up, Disney’s classic film ‘Dumbo’ was one of my favourites. I recently re-watched it with a look of disgust across my face throughout most of the film. It shows the cruel life that animals in circuses face and cannot escape from. Far from the sweet Disney classic I once thought it was. The use of animals in entertainment has thankfully been abolished in countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Greece and Israel. However, within the UK at current date, The Born Free Foundation has issued a statement claiming it is highly unlikely for the UK government to put forward their agreement to ban all exotic animals within circuses in the UK before 2015. This seems incomprehensible. How can they continue to allow exotic animals, any animal for that matter, to be tortured and faced with these profiteering acts, which are harming these animals to their death beds? Click here to find out the present legislation and where it stands from when you are reading this article.
If this article has inspired you to make a change, especially within the UK where the ban of animals in circuses should have been implemented years ago, click on this link to sign a petition, to help stop the exploitation of poor innocent animals in circuses once and for all.