The circus can be one of the most abuse, terrible place an animal can live. Animals such as monkeys, lions, elephants and horses are forced to jump through hoops, balance on pedestals and stand on their heads, just to amuse bratty 6 year olds who paid $20 a ticket. Animals should be treated with respect, not ridiculed or jeered at.
In circuses, animals (usually wild) are kept in small cages and are kept in artificial social groups. The life of a animal leads to stress, boredom and usually results in behavious such as repetitive pacing or swaying. Due to these circumstances, animals are (justifiably) reluctantant to perform so circus trainers torture them with whips, tight collars, muzzles and the infamous electric prod.
Animals in circuses perform out of the (rational) fear of torture, not the love of the trainer as many circuses claim. Sometimes this abuse drives the animals, usually elephants, slowly insane-and then they snap. Elephants have escaped and then crashed into buildings, injured or killed innocent bystanders or their handlers. Animals such as tigers or zebras also are known to escape and are usually found in the city, lost and hungry.
Fortunately, in the last decade, less and less circuses are using animals in performances (a famous example would be Cirque De Solei) and many circuses are banning bullhooks (heavy batons with a sharp steel hook on one end). It seems that many people just prefer circuses without abused wild animals performing.
You can help by boycotting circuses that use animals in the performence, inform your friends and family about the terror that animals go through, start a campaign to ban animals from being used in circuses. More information on how to help here (pdf file)
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