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Fast Facts about Wild Animals in Circuses
Thousands of wild animals are used worldwide in circuses to perform demeaning and unnatural tricks to entertain the public.
The animals can live life moving from location to location, often travelling vast distances chained, tethered or encaged in cramped beast wagons; repeatedly loaded and unloaded; and endure harsh training regimes in order to correctly perform demeaning stunts in front of an audience or camera. This is no life for a wild animal.
Research has shown that keeping wild animals in cramped conditions, in inadequate and unnatural social environments and subjecting them to repeated travel causes heightened stress responses that result in a serious negative impact on animal welfare. Standard circus industry training tools used on animals include bullhooks, whips, clubs, and electric prods.
In the wild, elephants live in large, sociable herds and walk up to 25 miles every day. Most other wild animals used in circuses, including lions and tigers, are also constantly on the move foraging in or patrolling their native habitats. In the circus, animals spend most of their time in cages or chains. From 1994 to 2005, at least 31 elephants have died premature deaths in the circus.
Inspection of general standards by vets is wholly insufficient to pick up on all but the most superficial animal health problems, and cannot provide a full assessment of the psychological and behavioural welfare of wild animals.
Encouragingly, the popularity of circuses with animals is in decline as the public seek other forms of entertainment. Circuses that feature only human performers are gaining in popularity and provide dazzling, humane, and truly family-friendly entertainment.
There is an increasing list of countries where regulators have seen fit to ban the use of wild animals in circuses:
Austria, Croatia, Costa Rica, Israel and Singapore have complete prohibitions on the use of wild animals in circuses; while Bolivia and Greece have gone a step further and banned all animals from circuses
This film, compiled by the Born Free Foundation with the help of www.crowtv.com and www.vividbroadcast.co.uk, provides some shocking footage and facts about the use of wild animals in circuses.