10 Reasons Not to Attend an Animal Circus

Circuses that force animals to perform, such as UniverSoul Circus, are the cruelest shows on Earth! Animals exploited in such performances are abused and punished daily. Once you’ve read the following 10 reasons not to attend circuses that use animals, you’ll never buy a ticket to one again:

1. It’s not only elephants who suffer in the circus. Tigers, lions, camels, and other animals endure the rigors of transport, training, and performances, too.


2. Many animals used in circuses are bred in captivity and will spend their entire lives in close contact with humans in an unnatural, stressful environment.


3. Big cats learn to obey commands because they’re afraid of being whipped.

Circus Lion Attack

4. Elephants are frequently beaten with bullhooks—heavy batons with a sharp metal hook on one end—sometimes until they bleed, in order to force them to perform dangerous, uncomfortable tricks, such as standing on their head or on a small pedestal.

Elephant training to do headstand

Bigotry begins when categories such as race, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or species are used to justify discrimination.

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5. When not training or performing, animals are kept chained or caged, with barely enough space to take a step in any direction.


6. While they’re being hauled around the country from venue to venue, animals may be crammed into tractor trailers for days on end. These trucks are usually cramped, filthy, sweltering, and poorly ventilated. An elephant named Heather died from heat exhaustion in a tractor trailer.

7. Animals in circuses become despondent and depressed, and most develop abnormal behavior patterns, including swaying, head-bobbing, and incessant pacing. Sometimes, they even harm themselves.

White tiger in cage

8. They’re denied everything that gives their lives meaning, such as the opportunity to run, play, or socialize.

Circus bears in cages

9. Animals have snapped when they became overwhelmed by the stress of circus life, going on rampages and causing property damage and even human deaths and injuries. The animals often pay for this with their lives.

10. There are so many entertaining circuses that don’t exploit animals.



Remember: When you purchase a ticket to a circus that exploits animals, you’re supporting their misery. Instead, you can help these animals by planning a demonstration. And encourage your friends and family members to shun animal circuses by sharing this page.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind