Circus: Human Enjoyment, Animal Suffering

Picture adapted from website Liberty Voice, article

Picture adapted from website Liberty Voice, article “Three Elephants Run Away From The Circus in Missouri”

Christine Ding, Photojournalist

Circus shows have been rated one of the top entertainment in casinos. Watching the animals doing all the fun or rather risky movements are always pleasant to watch. However, while the people are entertained by the dangerous movements of animals, the animals have to bear pain and fear that people can never imagine. Living in a cage, are endless punishments when disobeying harsh orders really what the wild animals wanted? Humans need to think about this question: Is it worth it to watch twenty minutes of circus show for human entertainment, not knowing the animals suffered for many years?

For example, tigers naturally fear fire, but they are still forced to jump through fire hoops in circuses and have been burned while doing so. Trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bull hooks and other painful tools of the trade to force animals to perform. Elephants especially are the crowds’ favorite animals in the circus. Training the huge animal into doing flexible movements, such as standing on a ball, standing on only hind legs, elephants can not disobey any orders. With such unnecessary performance, many elephants have to endure unimaginable pain and suffering.

The first step of training a baby elephant is to separate them from their mother, both physically and mentally so they can perform better on stage. Having to achieve the goal, circuses take the babies away from their mother and tie their legs, so they had to stand for days and nights without support from anyone. The baby elephants are given little to no food and water. They can not lay down, stretch, or turn their bodies. 

Eventually, the energetic, curious baby elephants lose their resistance, and they are mentally crushed by the experience they had just been through. After the torture, elephants are free to be trained by humans, they will be docile to do painful acrobatics and were able to bear up the endless pain and fears. Amina Abdelbary(10) stated, “A “circus” to me is an entertaining show. I believed that the animals were rewarded for what they do during the show. Knowing the way of training animals, I think that it would make more progress if the animals really get rewards for what they do; It would show more happiness and energy than being tortured to put on a show.”