Animals should not be used as circus acts

By Hailey Finocchio ’18

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Many people visit a circus and find it entertaining to watch the various animals perform their tracks. While this may sound amusing, the animals are having the farthest thing from fun. People should not be supporting the circuses and attending their shows due to the horrific treatment of the animals.

The training of animals to perform in circus acts has resulted in horrible treatment of the animals ever since circuses first came to be. What some people may not know is that circuses have been known to physically abuse animals in order to get them to perform their tricks correctly. Many trainers will beat, shock, and whip their animals until the act is performed properly. Tom Rider, former elephant keeper for Cole Bros. Circus, spoke up to PETA about the ways they were treating the elephants.

“After my three years working with elephants in the circus, I can tell you that they live in confinement, and they are beaten all the time when they don’t perform properly,” said Rider.

Animals are meant to live in the wild where they have a vast majority of land to roam around, not confined in a little space to travel from city to city for performances. Abigail Geer from onegreenplanet.org speaks about how ninety-six percent of circus animals are spending their lives behind bars.

“The average circus travels for 48 weeks of the year, and during this time, the animals are all confined to tiny cages, only just big enough to stand and turn around in. Statistics show that the average time that the animals are caged is in excess of 26 hours, and in some cases it was as long as 75 or 100 hours,” said Geer.

Since people are now deciding to take a stand and help out the animals that are suffering from abuse and confinement, circuses are finally being shut down for good. Popular circus show “Ringling Bros” (now known as Feld Entertainment), began its process of shutting down after being open for 146 years. Originally, the company was just going to get rid of the acts involving elephants, but eventually realized that closing down all together is the only way to stop hurting all of the animals used in the show.

CNN spoke about the public outcry that was enraged during the time of the Ringling Bros. circus acts. “But several animal rights groups repeatedly criticized picketed and sued Ringling Bros. for its treatment of the animals. In 2011, Feld Entertainment agreed to pay a fine of $270,000 to the US Department of Agriculture for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act.”

The treatment of these animals within the circus is indeed a violation of the Animal Welfare Act, and these companies running the circuses need to take that into consideration. Even though not all may be aware, circuses are still occurring all across the world. It is time to stop harming animals and begin to save them and allow them to live the healthy, happy life they deserve.

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