It’s that time of year again. Box cars and tractor-trailers carrying wild creatures in chains and cages will be touring the country for the annual circus season. Cole Bros. and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey are among the most recognized of traveling circuses transporting elephants, monkeys, and big cats, among several other animals, for an average of 26 hours between stops.
While the sole purpose of these companies is to exploit animals for entertainment and their own financial gain, many patrons are unaware of the tortuous acts that take place behind the scenes. Through these training tactics, animals, particularly elephants, are forced to perform unnatural tricks through the use of electric shock, ropes, and sharp metal bull hooks. Cole Bros. Circus has been cited and fined repeatedly by the United States Department of Agriculture for failing to meet “minimum standards of care and treatment” established by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Violations include negligent and cruel living conditions, lack of adequate veterinary care, and use of blatant, abusive training tactics.
While animal circuses have been fined thousands of dollars throughout their existence, families still flock to these events unaware of the suffering that these animals endure because of their ticket purchases. These animals not only face years of both physical and psychological distress, but also pose a threat to onlookers during their performances. Contact your city Chamber of Commerce and local venues that support these inhumane performances, and urge them to close their doors to companies allowing such violent training to be committed in their own community.