Animal Cruelty in Circuses is something that none of us want to see. So as I was browsing the internet for any eye catching animal news, I was delighted when I came across an article on the guardian.co.uk website with the headline “Circuses remove last of the big cats from UK’s big tops”.
Now like most children, when I was growing up I thoroughly enjoyed the circus and was in amazement of all the exotic animals, but as I grew up I began to understand how poorly these creatures are treated. As I researched it more and more I realized the full extent of the cruelty that is used to “train” these animals.
Camels, elephants, lions, snakes, tigers, zebras, llamas and dogs are amongst the most common attractions used in circuses. They are beaten and tortured until they perform and are then kept in confined spaces for hours on end while the circus travels to its next location.
So, is it any wonder that these animals sometimes rebel? In 1992 a police officer in America was forced to shoot and kill an elephant that fled the circus with five children on its back. In 1994, another elephant in Honolulu killed its trainer and injured twelve spectators before it was gunned down with nearly 100 bullets. There have been numerous accounts of this all over the world, not to mention in March 2012 when an elephant escaped a circus in Co Cork.
This type of behaviour is bound to occur because of the mistreatment of these animals. The article online has declared that this year for the first time ever, no circus will feature large performing cats such as lions and tigers. There are between 25 and 30 circuses travelling around Britain and as of now only five feature animals. As of 2012, there were only four circuses across Ireland using animals. Four too many in my opinion. I think people sometimes forget that these are wild animals and taking them out of their natural environment can cause them great distress.
In recent years, the focus has been more towards the artistic elements of the circus such as Cirque du Soleil. There are also a number of circuses in Ireland that provide animal free entertainment. The Captive Animals’ Protection Society or CAPS for short has a very informative website about circuses in this country, including some shocking facts and statistics about the real story behind the smoke and mirrors. You can read more here https://www.irishcircuses.org/
In November of last year, Minister Simon Coveney confirmed that the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill would NOT put a ban on animals performing in circuses. The minister was quoted saying “With regard to animals performing in circuses, I do not intend to interfere with legitimate recreational and sporting events, including the use of animals in circuses, provided they are carried out in a proper manner and no unnecessary suffering of the animals is involved.” I think it’s an outrage that in this modern society, the Irish Government has no issue with circus “trainers” mistreating and beating animals into performing tricks for our entertainment.
What do you think? Are you for or against the use of animals in circuses, and why?
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