Stopping The Abuse – Circuses, Acting, and Magic Shows
February 6, 2019
Imagine your favorite wild animal in its natural habitat. Do you picture them riding bicycles, standing on their heads, balancing on balls, or jumping through rings of fire? Exotic animals are constantly being used for entertainment purposes and have been prevalent in our culture for over 150 years. As a multi-billion dollar industry, many people who watch performances with wild animals do not know the reality of what goes on behind the scenes.
In the entertainment business animals are subjected to:
- Poor medical care
- Inability to be free
The Truth Behind the Curtain
Travel circuses are on the road for up to 11 months of the year. The animals spend between 75% to 99% of their time in cramped cages in the back of trailers, on boxcars, and trucks. They lack access to basic necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care. Forced to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate in the same confined space, they can develop physical and psychological damage. If an animal is to become sick or injured, they will face a long journey back to the circus’ permanent facility to recover, and often die of their illness.
Animals are punished with extreme “discipline”. This discipline is also used for training and can be in forms of whipping, hitting, poking, and shocking with electrical prods. The popular grin monkeys are trained to do in movies and television is actually a sign of fear.
Many times the animals are torn away from their mothers as infants and are forced into training. This puts not only physical stress on the young, but the mothers are continually bred to provide more props.
What happened when the animals are too big to be used in entertainment? Since they have been deprived of using their natural behaviors, they can never be released into their native habitat. They may be dumped at roadside zoos and other facilities where they are kept in small cages or solitary confinement, making room for younger and more agile entertainers. Sometimes the animals are sold to laboratories, canned hunting facilities, sold for parts, or even to private individuals as pets.
How can you help?
Just say NO! Avoid watching movies or television shows that exploit the use of wild animals. If a circus is using a wild animal in their show, do not go to it. There are plenty of animal-free circuses around the world that are enjoyable to watch without harming and abusing wild animals. You can go to these websites to see which circuses are animal free!
By: Abby Hickam – Education Intern