Time to put an end to the animal-entertainment business

Trainers force animals to do things that they would never do in the wild

OPINION, Grades 7–9, 2nd Place

Animals that are required to travel and perform with circuses experience depressing lives.

In the wild, bears don’t ride bikes, tigers don’t jump through flaming hoops, and elephants don’t stand upright on their hind legs. Animal acts usually display animal cruelty, inhumane care, public safety violations and distorted views of wildlife. Through the use of fear, pain, and intimidation, trainers force animals to do things that they would never do in the wild. Circus animals are isolated virtually all of their lives in sterile conditions, while forced to suffer intense physical, mental, and psychological distress.

Circus animals’ lives overflow with control, imprisonment, and brutal coaching. Everyday training includes beating, shocking, and whipping to perform ridiculous tricks that they cannot comprehend.

The majority of elephants handled by circuses are obtained in the wild or from their natural habitat. Once separated from their herds, their lives consist of nothing more than cages and fear. Baby elephants born in breeding facilities are often split from their mothers, tied up with ropes, and kept in isolation until they know to be terrified of their trainers.

Circuses strip animals of their basic needs to exercise, wander, socialize, scavenge, and enjoy themselves. Bears, large cats, and primates are forced to eat, drink, rest, defecate, and urinate in cramped, narrow prisons. Recurring behaviors like swaying, head-bobbing, pacing, bar-biting and self-harm are obvious signs of mental agony. Every year, animals in circuses globally snap as a result of the pressure and torment they undergo.

When putting unpredictable wild animals on pedestals and leashes there are often many factors unaccounted for. Using high-risk animals in shows threatens public security and often puts young children at the greatest risk. For these animals obtaining basic essentials such as food, water, and medical care is often very difficult. In the wild, animals would spend much of their free time roaming, searching for food, taking care of their offspring and spending time others. In the circus, they are rejected all of these basic needs. Instead of being permitted to roam freely, they are constricted with ropes and caged for almost all of the day and night. Without genuine care and attention, these innocent animals are subjected to wretched conditions.

Almost all circus animals perform exhausting and grueling stunts because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t. Animals are not ours to exploit or use for entertainment. That includes all the animals that are still in use. It’s good that most circuses don’t perform with elephants anymore, but we can’t neglect the rest of the animal kingdom that is in agony at the careless expense of humans. Progress has been made to release animals imprisoned in circuses, but it’s not enough. To prevent any further torture to these innocent animals the animal-entertainment business should be shut down for good.

See all the winning entries from the 2019 Student Gazette here.

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