Get The Facts:
- Captive exotic animals are abused and exploited in a variety of settings, including research and product testing, the entertainment industry, fur farms, and the exotic “pet” trade.
- The use of animals as “entertainers” removes animals from their natural habitat; deprives them of the ability to freely engage in instinctual behaviors; often involves cruel training methods; desensitizes both children and adults to animal mistreatment; and does not adequately address the real conservation threats that face animals in the wild.
- Every major circus that uses animals has been cited for violating the minimal standards of care set forth in the United States Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
1. The Care and Treatment of Animals in Circuses Is Shameful
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 — although this may not be what’s seen in the ring or in carefully-controlled public tours.
These fact sheets include a summary of violations of the Animal Welfare Act as recorded by the USDA on its inspection reports, and incidents documented through news reports. You can use this information for Letters to the Editor, Op-Ed pieces, letters to business and media sponsors, and for sharing with others via word-of-mouth.
A listing of circuses that take a stand against cruelty by not using animals. Not all circuses publicize that they are animal-free, so this up-to-date list is a valuable resource. In addition, some circuses do not use animals in the show, and so say they are “animal-free,” though they may tour with a petting zoo or midway shows. Check here to make sure animal-free means no animals are used at all.
The following circuses travel with animals. Through the Freedom of Information Act, their inspection records can be made available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS). Website: https://foia.aphis.usda.gov. Further information about some of these circuses can be obtained at the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) Website at www.circuses.com.
From 1994 to 2005, at least 31 circus elephants have died premature deaths*.