Hundreds of exotic animals used in circuses across the United States endure many long hours of confinement in cramped cages or on chains during travel and between shows, are forced to perform unnatural "tricks" and "stunts," and are denied the ability to express many of their natural behaviors. You can help to end this suffering by supporting Born Free USA's circus campaign and only choosing animal-free entertainment.
Grassroots activists who locally spread the truth about animal circuses are an essential part of the campaign to make all circuses animal-free. We thank you for your support, and offer the following tools to help you help animals.
- A Lifetime of Misery — black-and-white, print-ready pdf files (front and back)
- A Lifetime of Misery — get your FREE 18" X 24" full-color poster
- Go here for a downloadable 8.5" x 11" version of the Lifetime of Misery poster to print out immediately
Television and Radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs):
Born Free USA offers a free 30-second television PSA and a free 60-second radio PSA about circuses that use animals. Public Service Announcements are a great way to spread the word about the plight of animals in circuses to a large audience. Running a PSA is usually less expensive than outdoor advertising (billboards) or print ads, making it a great tool with which to educate the public. Activists secure and purchase space on cable and radio channels, and we supply you with the PSA. Please contact us for details and to order your free PSA.
We provide the billboard materials; all you need to do is secure the space, and many billboard companies offer non-profit rates.
For more information on how to secure and display a billboard in your area, please contact Born Free USA at 916-447-3085 x204 or email@example.com.
Born Free USA also offers a free print advertisement to activists securing space in the newspaper, local distributions such as weekly entertainment segments, magazines, student yearbooks, athletic rosters, or anywhere else you can think to advertise that animals do not belong in the circus.
Due to the various sizes and shapes available for print ads, all you have to do is secure the space and provide Born Free USA with the company's contact information so we can send a sample ad and the ad elements directly. In addition to offering non-profit rates, many companies will lay out the ad for free when you purchase space, so be sure to inquire and Born Free USA can send the company our non-profit number.
For more information, please contact Born Free USA at 916-447-3085 x204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exotic Animal Incidents
These incidents demonstrate that wild and exotic animals pose public safety and health risks when kept in private hands.
- Circus Animal Incidents (U.S. and Canada)
- Captive Exotic Animal Incidents
- Incidents at AZA-Accredited Facilities
Four Reasons Why You Should NOT Attend a Circus that Uses Animals
Here are four counter-arguments to answer the circus industry's claims. Keep this sheet handy at protests to reference or give to people who want more information.
Circus Elephant Death List
This is a summary of circus elephants who died between 1994 and 2005. Since information regarding the deaths and injuries of captive elephants is difficult to obtain, this list is probably incomplete. This list is helpful to illustrate that captive elephants do not live long lives and do not die naturally of old age. Some were shot to death, many died of foot ailments caused by captivity, others burned to death — certainly not natural causes.
Circuses That Use Animals
When you learn that a circus is coming to your area, check here to see if it uses animals. If so, cross reference with the Specific Circus Fact Sheets to see a history of the circus.
It is important for people to know that circus activists are not anti-circus per se; we fully support animal-free circuses. Since many productions use the word "circus" in their title, but are in fact animal-free, it is sometimes hard to know which circuses to support. Animal-free circuses employ amazing human athletes and performers, and are a thrill to see. They may not publicize that they are animal-free, so you can look here to find out, then show your support by attending a performance, and encouraging others to do the same. One point to be aware of: 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.
Organizing a Campaign to Help Captive Wildlife
This all-encompassing report takes you step by step through the process of what you can do to plan, implement, and follow-up on a campaign to help captive wild animals in your area, whether in circuses, roadside zoos and menageries, or in private possession. This is a must-read to most effectively help the animals!
Specific Circus Fact Sheets
As soon as you determine which circus is coming to your area, check here to see if there is a fact sheet about it. These sheets are a summary of violations of the Animal Welfare Act as recorded by the USDA on its inspection 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 word-of-mouth. Some people think that a circus that tours locally must have a clean record, otherwise local businesses and/or government would not sponsor it. Use these fact sheets to illustrate exactly what is wrong with the specific circus that comes to town. (As we receive more information on these and add new circuses, we will continue to update these fact sheets.)
Local Restrictions Governing Traveling Shows and Circuses in the U.S. and Canada:
A guide showing cities and counties that have regulations regarding traveling animal shows and circuses. If your city or county is listed, you can follow up to see that officials indeed enforce these laws. If your area has no laws, you may want to work toward helping get legislation to protect these animals. See Organizing a Campaign to Help Captive Wildlife and contact Born Free USA for assistance.
State Restrictions Governing Traveling Shows and Circuses in the U.S.:
Similar to above, this lists statewide laws and restrictions on traveling shows and circuses. Again, check to see what your state has on the books, and take action to add animal-friendly state laws in your state. Contact Born Free USA for assistance.
Summary of Exhibited Laws:
State by state summary of specific regulations that those who exhibit captive exotic animals must follow. This summary only applies to exhibition of exotic animals other than at circuses. Please see Born Free USA's Bans on Circus Acts for a complete listing of state laws relating to circuses and public contact with circus animals.
Model Local Ordinance:
An Act Prohibiting the Display of Wild and Exotic Animals for Public Entertainment or Amusement — If you are serious about working on a local ordinance to regulate or prohibit the display of wild and exotic animals in your community, we provide a sample ordinance for your use. If you would like more assistance, please contact Born Free USA.
Animal Welfare Act (AWA) & Exhibitor Violations
The federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was adopted in 1969 to ensure the humane care and treatment of warm-blooded animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public. Individuals or entities licensed under the AWA must provide their animals with certain standards of care and treatment in the areas of housing, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperatures. These standards, however, are minimal and don't adequately protect exhibited animals from mistreatment, neglect, improper handling and training, and other problems associated with the circus.