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The Mistreatment Of Circus Animals Essay

1951 words - 8 pages

Imagine being in a circus ring watching tigers and lions leaping through blazing rings of fire, elephants standing on their heads, and monkeys riding red bicycles for a colossal crowd of screaming, cheering fans. The elephant’s exhausted, worn body is swamped with intricately designed red and orange drapes. The sweet, endearing smell of fresh cotton candy and popcorn fills the humid air with thrilling excitement. When the eccentric show has reached the grand finale and has finally come to an end, a trainer swiftly arrives with a pointy bull hook and forcefully thrusts it into the elephant’s scarred side. Bloody wounds are all over its body from the mistreatment of the circus industry and trainers. This is the life that circus animals live each and every day. The animals are mistreated on a routine basis and are crammed into small boxcars for more than three-fourths of their life, serving the public for a moment of entertainment each night in the high top. The life of a circus animal is one of pure, unending misery. The use of animals in circus shows is inhumane because they are a threat to public health, and they are mistreated when outside of the public eye.
Beginning the process of putting together a circus show takes a colossal abundance of work. First, some exotic animals must be captured and trained. The majority of circus animals are caught in the wild; the animals put in several years of service to the circuses, such as Ringling Brothers Circus and Barnum and Bailey Circus. Animals that are born into the circus business are held until the need to replace a retiring performer arises (Minutes of Entertainment, 2). To train the animals, shocking, poking, prodding, starving, and striking are used to “prevent violent and atrocious behavior”. The training instruments, such as bull hooks and electric prods, are used to utilize the animals’ senses of fear and intimidation of the trainer (Minutes of Entertainment, 1). Trainers claim to use positive reinforcement with the animals, but this statement is clearly a lie. Tapes of abuse have been collected and released to the government agencies (Last Chance for Animals, 3). Agencies are trying to boycott the circus industry; however, some circuses have boycotted using animals altogether. Once the circus is ready to hit the road and go on tour, the animals are confined to small spaces, such as boxcars, trailers, and trucks for many extensive, everlasting periods of time. Some hard-to-handle animals are drugged with sedatives so they have a greater chance of cooperating when traveling (Last Chance for Animals, 2). A record of a chimpanzee getting its teeth knocked out with a hammer has been retrieved (Last Chance for Animals, 2). “Constant travel, forced inactivity, and long hours standing on hard surfaces in their own waste leads to serious health problems and early death in captive elephants (Circus Animals, 2).” Elephants travel more than forty miles a day in the wild, but circus elephants barely...

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