Circuses

Animal use in circuses involves torturing animals to force them to perform unnatural ‘acts’ for so-called entertainment. These often wild, exotic animals, are bred and kept in captivity, carted around the country and globe, in small cages for weeks on end, denying them of their natural behaviours. The use of trained animals for entertainment in circuses, dates back to Ancient Rome.

Even wild animals bred in captivity have natural instincts around socialising, roaming, feeding and mating. In a circus animals are unable to meet any of their natural needs. Like zoos, circuses often claim to perform conservation and educational roles. However, the only thing people learn about viewing animals in circuses is that it’s okay to use them for entertainment.

 

The Issues
Our Solution
Born to be Wild
    It takes thousands of years for animals’ behaviour to adapt and evolve to changing surroundings. Circus animals bred in captivity still have all their natural instincts – they are just unable to perform them. Circuses deprive animals of companionship, adequate exercise and appropriate diet and nutrition.
      In the wild, lions are hunters who patrol a territory, feed and care for their females and children, and protect them from interlopers. Monkeys are complex, intelligent primates who form large social groups and require lots of mental stimulation for their wellbeing.
        Travelling with the Circus
          Australia is a large country with vast distances and an ever-changing environment. Animals are transported in small cages for weeks at a time, subject to extreme weather conditions and without the opportunity to exercise or experience companionship. Like other captive animals, circus animals often develop stereotypes, such as bar biting or swaying, as a result of frustration, boredom and depression.
            Cruel Training Methods
              Lions do not naturally jump through rings of fire. Elephants do not play with balls or stand on one foot in the wild. Primates have no need for bicycles or shiny suits in the jungle. Yet in circuses, animals are forced to perform unnatural acts, usually through fear of punishment that has been instilled during cruel training. Training methods have been found to include:
              • whips
              • beating
              • electric prods
              • choke ropes
              • deprivation of food and water
               

              ‘Entertainment’ can never be an excuse for deprivation, torture and unnatural acts. Animal circuses are banned in countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia, Cyprus and Mexico. They have also been banned in the ACT for over 21 years, and several councils across Australia have banned them locally. Animal Liberation is calling for a state-wide ban on animal circuses in NSW, and for local councils to review their circus policy.

              There are many successful circuses that operate without animals, such as Cirque du Soleil, the Flying Fruit Bat Circus and Circus Oz.