Around the world, thousands of wild animals suffer for human entertainment. This can be in zoos, aquariums, public exhibits, roadside attractions, marine mammal parks, and circuses, where animals such as big cats, elephants, bears, and apes are taught from a young age that life is pain and confinement.
Stuck in inhospitable conditions, these animals are forced to adapt to abnormal surroundings and perform unnatural behavior. Solitary animals like tigers or bears may be penned up together while social animals like elephants are kept alone – chained up for hours on end – until they need to perform.
For many people, lions, tigers, and elephants are big attractions at circuses. However, the keeping and transportation of these wild animals in circuses and other traveling shows usually result in the saddest forms of captivity and cruelty. They spend most of their lives in cages or tiny enclosures – and the show will go on as long as the audience keeps visiting and spending money that keeps these “big tops” in business.
Without the room and opportunity for wild animals to live as they naturally would and exhibit their natural behaviors, monotony and boredom reign and their welfare and health are significantly impacted. This can be seen in the development of abnormal behaviors, such as a tiger endlessly pacing back and forth, and health issues like joint and hernia problems in elephants resulting from repeatedly assuming unnatural positions during a performance.
In the wild, no tiger would jump through a burning hoop and no elephant voluntarily does a handstand. These sorts of “stunts” are always the result of questionable and usually brutal methods of training based on domination and in many cases, violence.
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- A ban on wild animals in circuses
- A ban on the breeding and replacement of wild animals for entertainment
- The confiscation and adequate re-housing of animals subjected to bad keeping conditions
- Domesticated animals should only be permitted in circuses if appropriate keeping conditions can be guaranteed. Only an approved positive list of specified animals should be allowed