Animals are living, breathing beings who feel much like we do. This is especially true for cleverer animals such as apes, cows, pigs, and even exotic animals like elephants and big cats. Then why have circuses been allowed for so long to use them in performances?
If you think of circuses, you’ll probably think of clowns, a trapeze, and then a lion tamer. How about a bear riding a bicycle? Or maybe an elephant jumping through a ring of fire that it is clearly horribly scared of? Animals have been used in circuses since they began performing. But, that doesn’t make it okay.
Often in the past, animals were mistreated and circus owners used pain to train the animals into performing. For instance, the lion would expect pain if it didn’t do what the tamer said. Hence a lion tamer is always pictured with a whip. The lion associates the sound of the whip with pain.
This happens less in modern circuses, due to stricter laws. However, in some parts of the world hoses are still used to scare animals into submission. Also, their enclosures and cages are far too small to keep the animals happy and healthy. This is especially true for travelling circuses, who need to move the animals every night.
UK Bans Animals In Circuses
The UK has now banned the use of animals in travelling circuses due to the cruelty they face. The environment secretary said, “Traveling circuses are no place for wild animals in the 21st century and I am pleased that this legislation will put an end to this practice for good.”
“Forcing wild animals to perform confusing tricks is a barbaric practice that has no place in a compassionate society,” says animal rights charity PETA.
Last year New Jersey became the first and only state to implement a similar ban, but in 2016 there were at least 65 elephants used in 17 American circuses. The report found that circus animals were kept in chains 96% of the time, and could spend up to 100 consecutive hours in tiny cages.
Do you think this law should be implemented in the USA? Let us know in the comments, and share with your family and friends.
Images courtesy of Flickr, Wikipedia, and PETA.