MINUTES OF ENTERTANMENT
A LIFETIME OF MISERY
Using animals in circuses is an unnecessary and inhumane. Unlike the human performers who choose to work in circuses, exotic animals are forced to take part in the show.
While many people associate the circus with "safe, wholesome, family fun" the truth of the matter is that it is anything but that. Animals used in circuses have been injured and killed, and have injured and killed humans.
The only message that circuses send to children and the public is that it's acceptable to abuse animals for amusement and profit.
Did you know that in the wild, elephants live in large, sociable herds and walk up to 20 Kms every day.
In a circus, they spend the majority of their time in chains. Baby elephants generally stay with their mothers for fifteen years if they are male and their entire lives if they are female. Yet in circuses, baby elephants are ripped from their mothers' sides as young as one year old because baby elephants are cute and draw a crowd which in turn helps the circus reap profit.
Elephants are trained through the use of an ankus—a wooden stick with a sharp, pointed hook at the end to discourage undesired behavior.
An elephant handler will never be seen working with an elephant without an ankus in one hand or discreetly tucked under his arm. Although an elephant’s skin is thick, it is very sensitive—sensitive enough to feel a fly on her back.
The ankus is embedded into elephants' most sensitive areas, such as around the feet, behind the ears, under the chin, inside the mouth, and other locations around the face. Sometimes it is used to smash them across the face. Circuses claim to use "positive reinforcement" and to base their tricks on behaviors that animals carry out naturally. If this were true, however, the trainers would be carrying bags of food treats, not a metal weapon.
The tricks that animals are forced to perform, night after night, are frightening, unnatural, and even painful.
Standard circus industry practice is to use bull hooks and other objects to poke, prod, strike, shock, and hit animals in order to “train” them. Most circus elephants are chained by at least two legs for 95% of their lives in a space no larger than an automobile .
They are unchained only to perform. The natural behavior patterns of the elephant, which have evolved over thousands of years, are denied by this confined, chained, and dominated life.
To disrupt and prevent the natural behavior of these intelligent, social creatures is not only inhumane and cruel, but stressful to the individual animal as well.
Stardust Circus in Australia kept a lone elephant, Arna, from mid 1996 to 2003, after her companion elephant, Bambi, died.
Animal Liberation NSW took action against the NSW Government and Stardust Circus for allegedly breaching the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986 (NSW) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW).
Animal Liberation argued that both the NSW Government and Stardust Circus were in breach of the Standards for Exhibiting Circus Animals in NSW in relation to the keeping of a solitary elephant. It also argued that Stardust Circus committed an act of cruelty when it authorised the visit of three elephants from another circus and then without warning removed the elephants, causing enormous distress to ARNA.
In December 2007 Arna killed her handler, and has now been sent to the Dubbo free range zoo. According to a spokesperson from Stardust circus they have no plans to find replacement elephants.....for now.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Firstly (and most important) - Dont go to the circus!
If one comes to your area, write to your local council explaining how cruel they are for the animals and ask them to ban them in future
Write a letter to your local paper explaining why they should be banned
You can see how elephants are trained for circus work here
Animals Australia have a great page with lots more info on it if you want to find out more: HERE
Check out this great Australian site Say NO to animals in Circuses and please make sure you sign the petition to ban the use of animals in Australian circuses.