A spine-chilling video of a tiger attacking a circus trainer during a live performance in Italy is yet another cautionary tale that no one should have needed: When you treat wild animals like stage props, you put everyone in danger.
Incidente al Circo per #ivanorfei, attaccato alle spalle da una Tigre davanti ai bimbi del pubblico
Ricoverato in codice rosso#circo #Orfei pic.twitter.com/VgYDvuxkJT
— SALLY (@LaSamy65280885) December 31, 2022
A clip of the incident shows the trainer apparently forcing a tiger to balance on a metal contraption, while another tiger approaches him from behind and drags him away by his leg. Shrieks of apparently horrified audience members can be heard in the background.
Let’s make one thing clear: Tigers don’t attack humans unless they’re provoked. They’re solitary animals who prefer to avoid humans altogether. When circuses and traveling menageries haul big cats around in tiny metal crates to crowded venues, where trainers force them to perform in front of noisy audiences—often under the threat of painful punishments—they may become severely distressed, causing them to attack out of self-defense.
In their natural habitats, tigers roam vast distances, climb trees, swim, and hunt—but circuses deny them opportunities for these essential activities. Big cats condemned to miserable lives in circuses are typically taken from their mothers—with whom they naturally share a close bond—shortly after birth. In order to force tigers to learn confusing tricks, trainers abuse them into submission by whipping them or denying them food.
This incident is just the most recent time an exploited tiger has acted out against a circus trainer—and it won’t be the last, at least as long as circuses continue to abuse these animals.
Here’s How YOU Can Help Tigers
Don’t give your money to circuses, roadside zoos, or any other tourist trap that confines big cats to dismal cages and forces them to perform for (or interact with) humans. Click the button below to take action for exploited tigers: