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Ten Fast Facts about Animals in the Circus

  1. 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. Animals in circuses spend about 11 months of the year traveling.
  2. During travel, animals may be caged or chained for long distances and hours, forced to stand in their own waste, in extreme temperatures.
  3. Standard circus industry training tools used on animals include bullhooks, whips, clubs, and electric prods.
  4. Animals born in circus “conservation” breeding programs have never been released into the wild.
  5. From 1994 to 2005, at least 31 elephants have died premature deaths in the circus. Other circus animals who have died in an untimely manner include horses and lions.
  6. Captive elephant and captive feline attacks on humans in the U.S. have resulted in hundreds of injuries, many resulting in death.
  7. In the wild, elephants live in large, sociable herds and walk up to 25 miles every day. Most other wild animals found in circus settings, including lions and tigers, are also constantly on the move in their native habitats. In the circus, animals spend most of their time in cages or chains.
  8. Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (which enforces the AWA) have repeatedly ignored obvious physical trauma to animals, eyewitness accounts of mistreatment, and sworn testimony from former circus employees who report abuse of elephants.
  9. Circuses that feature only human performers are gaining in popularity and provide dazzling, humane, and truly family-friendly entertainment.

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