According to Ringling Bros. founder Henry Ringling North, in his book, The Circus Kings, tigers and lions are “chained to their pedestals, and ropes are put around their necks to choke them down. They work from fear.” He also writes that trainers commonly break bears’ noses or burn their paws to force them to stand on their hind legs, that lions and tigers are routinely choked with ropes to make them behave, and that monkeys and chimpanzees are struck with trainers’ clubs while they scream.
The fact is, animals do not naturally ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire. To force them to perform these confusing and physically uncomfortable tricks, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks, and other painful tools of the trade.
We applaud the trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, tightrope-walkers, and acrobats, but let’s leave the animals in peace. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, India, and the U.K. have all banned or restricted the use of animals in entertainment—it’s time for the U.S. to do the same. To learn more about the cruelty of circuses, click here.