Get The Facts:
- Both orcas (commonly known as killer whales) and dolphins are members of the dolphin family Delphinidae, of which orcas are the largest members. There are more than 500 orcas, dolphins and other members of the dolphin family held in captivity in the United States.
Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute (Born Free USA), along with three other animal protection organizations and a former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (Ringling) employee, is suing Ringling for violating the Endangered Species Act by cruelly mistreating Asian elephants. The trial is set to commence on February 3, 2009.
- Countless wild animals are displaced by urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation, which sometimes lead to conflicts between people and wildlife.
- 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.