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10 Reasons Not to Attend the Circus

Circuses that use animals, such as Ringling Bros., are the cruelest shows on Earth! Many animals, not just elephants, are abused and punished daily in order to force them to perform. Once you read the following 10 reasons not to attend the circus, you’ll want to tear up those circus tickets:

1. Many young animals (including elephants and big cats) are born into captivity and forced to grow up around humans in an unnatural, stressful environment.


2. Animals are trained using whips, ropes, bullhooks, electric prods, and other weapons as well as food deprivation.


3. Big cats are whipped or beaten in order to “train” them to be afraid of the trainer and not attack.

Circus Lion Attack

4. Elephants are beaten with bullhooks repeatedly, sometimes until they bleed, in order to force them to perform dangerous, uncomfortable tricks, such as standing on their heads or on small platforms.

Elephant training to do headstand

5. When animals aren’t in training or performing, they spend most of their lives in isolation. They are chained or caged in small areas, with barely enough space for them to turn around in.


6. Animals are forced to travel in boxcars or trailers for up to 100 hours straight! These cars and trailers are cramped, unsanitary, and poorly ventilated. Animals have even died when temperatures have exceeded 100 degrees.

Elephant in RBBB trailer/boxcar

7. Animals in captivity suffer from psychological problems because of the unnatural and stressful environment. Some common signs of this mental distress include swaying back and forward, head-bobbing, pacing, and sometimes even self-mutilation.

White tiger in cage

8. These animals will never experience anything that’s natural and important to them, such as running, playing, jumping, or socializing with their mates. Most of them will never see their family again.

Circus bears in cages

9. When animals fight back against humans, they end up hurting people and themselves. The animals are sometimes shot and killed after these tragedies.

10. Although there are laws regarding animal care in circuses, they establish meager, inadequate standards that often aren’t enforced or are ignored. Many of these circuses have been cited multiple times but remain in business.


Remember that when you purchase a ticket to the circus, you are supporting these forms of cruelty. If a circus that uses animals is in town, you can protest and plan a demonstration at the event. Also, encourage your friends and family members to shun the circus by sharing this page.