Circus Animal Cruelty Essay

2769 Words Nov 20th, 2011 12 Pages
Animal Acts and the Circus | The Terror and Subjugation of Entertainment Animals |

During the Seven Year’s War, and English entrepreneur named Phillip Astley began an equestrian act that would become the antecedent of the modern American circus. In 1793, Bill Ricketts cultivated Astley’s idea and opened the first one ring show in Philadelphia to great acclaim and success. Soon after in 1825, Joshuah Purdy Brown developed a canvas tent to house performers and the travelling circus was founded. Along with the awe inspiring trapeze artists, amazing strongmen, daring tightrope walkers and enigmatic ring masters, a hidden legacy of cruelty and animal abuse was born alongside this American tradition. As equestrian acts gave way to
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Natural instincts have not been bred out of these animals like they have been out of domestic pets. Circus animals are not willing participants and have to be trained with fear and intimidation. “Training techniques used by Gary Jacobson include a lot of man power, brute force, electricity and a savage disposition. Raising a baby elephant at Ringling is like raising a kid in jail.” [ (Haddock, 2009) ]
The performances also put emotional stress on the animals. Circuses tell the public acts are generated through natural behaviors. There are no known instances of lions and tigers jumping through flaming hoops in the wild. Horses do not let large cats or monkeys ride them willingly. Elephants do not stand on platforms and bears do not wear people clothes and dance amid flashing lights and screaming crowds. Food and water are withheld before performances to ensure they do not defecate on stage. These factors added to the exhaustion of performing cause psychosis. Signs of stress are expressed by stereotypic behaviors (mindless rocking back and forth, pacing and continuous scratching), poor appetite and aggression. Elephants in particular show signs of being self aware and all exotic animals used in the circus are designed to exist within complex social structures. Training disrupts these natural aspects of their lives and leaves them isolated, confused and fearful.
Obviously, life on the road is a far from ideal environment

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