Thursday, 19 May 2011

Circus of Horrors

Living in confined spaces, constant travel and performances in front of loud crowds is no life for anyone, especially not for the animals that are made to perform in circuses but this is the life many of them are forced to live.

This issue has been the focus in the media recently when The Independent reports that “elephants may have shackles on their legs for most of their lives and other animals are tied or kept in small cages. Closely confined circus animals may also be unresponsive to events around them which in humans are usually an indicator of depression and other disorders associated with inability to have control of environmental impacts.” Surely everyone can see that this is a significant indicator of poor welfare. Even if you haven’t witnessed this for yourself, just from reading these reports it is glaringly obvious that this treatment, this lifestyle and this much neglect is just wrong! If I haven’t left the house for a day I start to feel trapped let alone a whole life time spent in a cage with chains around my ankles. This isn’t a lifestyle they chose. It was forced upon them by our very own species.
These poor animals are made to do ‘tricks’ under extreme conditions just to satisfy us, the public. I mean do we really want to have this on our conscience. Is a 30 minute performance really worth it when you consider the abuse these animals are subject to? After reading these reports I definitely would not attend a circus (with an animal act).
© Getty Images
All animals are subject to training by circus staff and some trainers have been known in the past to use harsh methods, physical violence in order for them to perform tricks. Such punishments lead to pain and fear. This is because animals which are not domesticated are usually much worse at adapting to conditions imposed by humans. This just highlights the fact that these animals should not be made to perform such activities.
As Tree Hugger suggests people have the assumption that circuses are all about up-close glimpses of rare creatures and the captive breeding programs that can bring endangered species back from the brink but not all animal owners are so ethical, qualified or even kind to their animals, but this is not the case as many animals all over the world are being abused in some way.
© Creative Commons
If you thought that these activities only happened in foreign countries as no one here in the UK would let this still go on today then you would be wrong. Here in the UK a 59 year old elephant named Anne was beaten by her owners and chained up for hours at a time. A video leaked earlier this year has lead to the Country’s Environment Secretary to ban all wild animals from circuses and so far has lead to Anne the elephant being removed from the circus.
There is also the story of Knut, a Polar Bear bred in captivity in Berlin’s Zoological Garden back in 2006. Rejected by his mother at birth he was raised by zookeepers. He became the centre of a mass media incident when children started protesting outside the zoo for the release of Knut. Sadly his story ended in March this year when he died at the age of four which has since been related to brain problems.
Since these stories have unfolded Government Ministers have been put under pressure in Parliament this week over their failure to bring forward plans to ban wild animals performing in circuses which has lead to people campaigning and petitioning to put a stop to this issue. If you would like to help encourage the banning of wild animals in circuses join The Independent’s campaign by signing their online petition for the Government to set out a timetable for banning wild animals.

1 comment:

  1. I still can't believe that animal circus acts are still allowed to perform in the UK.

    I have signed the petition and urge everyone else to as well.