Celebrities Tell the Tortured, Painful Tale of Animals in Circuses

Some of your favorite actors have taken on the role of defending the rights of animals. They describe the sad existence of elephants torn from their families in the wild and forced to spend their lives in cages, except when they’re made to perform confusing, demeaning, and often painful tricks in circuses.

Violent training sessions eventually break animals’ spirits, forcing them to live in constant fear decade after decade. After each show, they travel in poorly ventilated and cramped boxcars. Elephants suffer from painful arthritis, which is the leading reason why captive elephants in the U.S. are euthanized. But the show must go on: Night after night, they’re still forced to perform the same excruciating tricks.

In circuses, elephants and tigers are beaten, hit, poked, prodded, and jabbed with sharp hooks, sometimes until they’re bloody. Parents planning a family trip to the circus often don’t know about the violent training sessions that animals endure, which can involve ropes, chains, bullhooks, and electric shock prods. After being abused day after day during training, animals endure constant travel, confined to boxcars or trailers for days at a time in extremely hot and cold weather—often without access to basic necessities such as water and veterinary care.

Elephants, big cats, and other animals are confined to cramped and filthy cages in which they eat, drink, sleep, defecate, and urinate—all in the same place. Understanding the terrible reality behind the scenes at animal circuses and not supporting them will teach generations to come that kindness is a virtue and should be extended to all living creatures.

Want to do more for elephants in circuses? Spread the word by sharing this video!

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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