Circus Shame


Our ongoing Circus Campaign

Animal circuses are archaic, and cruel. The needs of the animal can never be met in a circus environment.

Regardless of the number of generations that wild animals have been bred in captivity, they do not lose their natural instincts. They retain their desire to roam freely. Circuses deny them mental and physical stimulation.

Circus animals can spend up to 11 months of the year travelling. The endless road travel in a confined space in all extremes of weather, over vast distances, is cruel in itself, without the additional cruelty that circus animals are subjected to.

The animals suffer from boredom and are continually confined, isolated and distressed. This affects their health and wellbeing and can lead to serious behavioural problems, often manifesting as pacing, swaying, nodding, rocking or aggression. The only release. they get from their confinement is when they are performing for the circus audience. This can result in unpredictability and present a serious threat to human safety. There have been a number of cases of circus animals turning on their trainers, sometimes during performances and even in front of terrified children.

The circus-goer never sees the behind the scenes cruelty which induces terrified, defenceless animals to perform unnatural, demeaning tricks for audience amusement.

The display of animals for entertainment in circuses plays no role in conservation or education. In fact circuses are anti-educational. There is nothing educational or entertaining about seeing wild animals with broken spirits performing tricks. This does not teach children where the animals come from, how they live or their normal diets, habits or social structures. Circuses send out the wrong message, that it is ok to exploit animals for human entertainment and to laugh at their painful and demeaning predicament.. It encourages impressionable children to believe that it is ok to force animals to behave unnaturally, in fear of punishment.

We are not alone in our conviction that animal circuses should be permanently banned. Numerous countries worldwide share our conviction and have bans in place. Here in Australia more than 40 local authorities including our national capital have such bans in place. Increasingly, community attitudes are deploring this vile form of animal exploitation and cruelty. Apart from being cruel to have animals in circuses, it is also unnecessary. Many successful modern circuses such as Cirque du Soleil perform without animals.

It is time to listen to our sense of compassion and understand that animals suffer and feel pain just as humans do.

Several websites have exposed the behind the scenes abuses to which circus animals are routinely subjected, for example