- Wild animals, such as elephants, tigers, bears, lions, and zebras, live in chains or small, dark cages for ninety-five percent of their lives. Circus animals are forced to travel in box cars or trucks for months at a time with no regard for temperature, exercise or normal interaction with their own kind.
- Ringling Bros., one of the most well-known and profitable circuses, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture numerous times in the last decade for repeated violations of animal care regulations.
- Animals such as elephants are “trained” using the most extreme and brutal methods, such as electric shocks, starvation and beatings. Henry Ringling himself said in his memoirs, “These animals work from fear.”
- After years of abuse, elephants will sometimes go berserk, rampaging and killing their handlers or spectators. Over a hundred people have been killed or injured by rampaging elephants since 1990.
- Old and sick animals are often sold by zoos, amusement parks and circuses to “game ranches” where trophy hunters pay to have their preferred species hauled to them in a cage - “a canned hunt.” Some zoo animals are so terrified they must be dragged out of the cage to be shot; others are so gentle and tame that they walk right up to the shooter.
- For children's rides, ponies are often not watered or fed all day to prevent them from urinating or defecating in the circle as they walk endlessly around and around. Animals in petting zoos spend their lives being roughly handled by an unending series of sometimes ignorant and unsupervised youngsters.
- Hundreds of animals are injured or killed every year in rodeos throughout the United States.
- For the calf roping event, calves are shocked with electric prods to force them to run out of chutes at high speeds. The force of stopping breaks necks, killing or injuring many calves each year.
- “Bucking broncos” and bulls only buck to rid themselves of the painfully tight straps cinched across their stomachs, near the genitals.
- Veterinarians are not required to be present at most rodeos to help injured or dying animals.
- Imprisoned in “amusement” parks, whales and dolphins have injured and killed themselves, sometimes deliberately ramming their bodies into the sides of their concrete tanks.
- [horse/greyhound racing]
- Animals used in television and film are often brutally beaten to force them to perform. The orangutan used in Clint Eastwood's film, Any Which Way But Loose, was beaten to death by a club used by his “trainer.” The infamous Las Vegas “entertainer” Bobby Berosini was videotaped beating the primates he used in his nightclub act.
Click on the animal(s) above
for more information.
"We cannot glimpse the essential life of a caged animal, only the shadow of its former beauty."
Julia Allen Field
"But for the use of physical punishment by, and fear of their oppressors, animals would never be a part of a circus."
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans anymore than black people were made for whites or women for men."
What You Can Do
- Do not attend rodeos, shows, circuses, animal races or amusement parks that exploit animals. Most children love animals and enjoy seeing them whenever they can. Explain to children why your family chooses not to support these forms of cruelty.
- If your local community sponsors a rodeo or circus, write to the city manager, city council members and corporate sponsors and educate them.
- If you wish to enjoy a circus, support non-animal circuses instead. Tell your friends, family and coworkers not to go to the circus. Remind them that circus animals are not volunteers.
- Contact the venue that will be hosting a circus or rodeo and ask management to withdraw the invitation or, at the very least, not to invite them back next year.
- Watch television shows and films carefully for potential animal abuse. Point out the realities of “training” to your friends and family. Educate the media about animal exploitation.
Other Useful Resources
Animal Protection Institute
The Humane Society of the U.S.