Photo of Limba by FOCA - Friends of Captive Animals
4 Reasons to Avoid Animal Circuses
1. Wild Animals are not suited for life in a circus.
The tricks that animals are forced to perform are frightening, unnatural, and even painful. The
industry claims that it only trains animals to do the types of tricks they might naturally perform
in their native habitat, but elephants in the wild don't eagerly stand on their heads and tigers don't
naturally jump through hoops. Additionally, animals in circuses spend about 11 months of the year
traveling. For thousands of hours, over long distances, they may be chained while not performing,
transported in vehicles that lack climate control, and forced to stand or lie in their own waste.
Most wild animals are constantly on the move in their native habitats and make their own choices.
2. Circus animals have injured and even killed during escape attempts.
Animals in circuses are forced into lives far different from the ones nature intended. The
conflict between their instincts and the harshness of captivity (including training methods
utilizing violence, fear, and intimidation, cause animals tremendous amounts of stress. This
drives the animals mad, resulting in rampages that injure and kill people. Animals in circuses
have escaped from their enclosures and freely roamed outside the property from where they
are performing. In addition to causing major property damage, they can place local residents
at risk from potential injury. Elephants in the circus may carry tuberculosis (TB), and can
infect humans with the bacterial disease. Public records show that many circuses have a
history of TB in their elephants, and that many have used TB-positive elephants in
3. It is a myth that circuses help save endangered species such as Elephants and Tigers.
Endangered animals born in circus "conservation" programs have never been released into
the wild - most become "replacement" performers. Captive breeding programs do nothing
to address the real threats endangered animals face in the wild, such as poaching, loss of
habitat, and loss of prey. Circuses' are entertainment, not education. Watching wild
animals perform unnatural tricks does not teach our children respect or appreciation for
animals, nor does it help animals in the wild. Circuses teach children that it's acceptable to
exploit and mistreat animals for amusement.
4. Use of the Bull Hook (Ankus) to Control Elephants In Circuses.
Former circus employees have reported that the bull hook is not used to ‘guide’ elephants,
as circus spokespersons claim, but is used to cause pain, and to instil fear - the sharp
metal prong is used to actually pierce the skin on sensitive areas, such as behind the
ear, or it is used to beat the elephants on parts of the body where there is little cushioning over
the bone. Is an hour or two of entertainment worth allowing animals to have metal prongs
puncture sensitive areas of their body to cause pain and fear?
It is important that we do not give up! FOCA is committed to letting people know why
they should never support a circus that uses animals. Learn more about circus cruelty here.
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