The circus

Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 06:10 am
I took little Bean to the circus last night. I think she had a BLAST.
But I dont want to talk about these ideas in front of her . I remember , as a child when I went, I absolutely LOVED the circus...

But now as an adult, Im watching these animals and something doesnt feel right to me any more.

Elephants , for example... would never, ever, ever stand on their heads in the wild. Not only is it dangerous to their body structure, but it is unnecessary so why would they do it?
They are commanded to in the show. Which means they were trained to over a period of time.
Tigers, taught to dance. Walk like humans. Growl on command. Lay down on top of each other.Sit on each others heads, backs and chairs.

I understand that the appeal of these animals in a circus setting IS that they can do human like things. And it IS that they are wild, not common animals that we get to see everyday. The safety of the circus allows us to not only view these amazing creatures 'up close' but we also get to have the taste of fear as someone works with an animal we naturally consider our predator.

But... these animals just LIVE in those cages dont they?

Arent they ...broken down.. so to speak, to the point that they will obey humans?

They had Tigers, Elephants, Goats, Horses, Pigs, Zebras and Im sure there were more.. I just dont remember them all.

I know I can research using google and read the horror stories of animals in the circus, but most of those stories and reports I take with a grain of salt like PETA. Some people will report that an animal is being treated horribly because of one single incident as if the animal should never EVEr get sick, or hurt themselves or otherwise have a normal animal life.
Im not one for those over dramatic peta style stories. But I have to say that I wonder how well these animals are treated. Im positive they have many MANY laws in their favor, and Im sure the circus obeys those laws...

but..there is still something wrong to me about watching these animals behave like humans. And something even more disturbing about the idea that it is OK to do this..

Or Im just being too touchy. Which is entirely possible.
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 06:34 am
animal trainers generaly love (dote) on their animals. There is a high degree of respect as well. these animals are (generally) well looked after. There is a paddock 50 ha near here where a circus spell their grazing animals .I have seen Zebra camels and horses there, they look well.
As a general rule (here in Oz) animal welfare groups pay pretty close attention to circuses, your more likely to find cruelty among small block holders.

However I too agree there is something sad about these animals performing for people. I think with the advent of international travel, comfortable personal transport and high quality zoos the need for exotic circus animals traveling the country so that remote area people can marvel at them is past.
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 06:43 am
I agree.
I think the time of the circus being all about animals is over .
There were far more ....'human'' tricks then animal tricks. I remember when I was young and going to the circus every couple of months ( 20 years ago .. maybe a bit more.. ) there were very few human tricks.. and they were done quickly, between the animal shows so that you could watch something while they cleared the stage for the next group of animals.

I remember Camels, Lions, Tigers, Panthers.. Bears.. you name it. It was like a traveling zoo.

now, this time.. we saw elephants .. about 8 of them.
Horses. Arabians, Shetlands, some painted mares and a couple of foals.
6 Tigers, one Pig, 2 goats.. and a bunch of Poodle dogs.

Granted, watching it was fun but it seemed.. less animal focused then when I was younger, or I was just more fascinated with it then.

I do remember hearing terror stories of animals being chained up for days on end while they were being 'trained' .. no real roaming allowed and many were left to live in their cages with little thought to getting them out.

My first reaction to that was not a humanitarian one.. it was more along the lines of.. How stupid can one be to lock up a Tiger like that, then expect them to be sedated and not attack you when they are let out?

That would be like locking your kitty cat in the bathroom for awhole day and then wondering why he is so excited and jumping around you when you let him out.. Its just that a Tiger will kill you if he gets that excited. Laughing
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 06:54 am
some of these animals (tigers) form part of the world wide breeding program as well shewolf
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Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:30 am
I think that's what all their propaganda about conservation is about.
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:31 am
breeding programs.....?

Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 08:18 am
Whew! Thank heavens!

When I saw this new topic and who had started it, I was afraid shewolf had run off and joined the circus.

Very Happy
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Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 08:22 am
They have a bunch of propaganda before, during, and after the show about their efforts to save the Asian elephant from extinction.
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Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 11:03 am
I kind of feel the same way. Even if the handlers are kind and love these animals, they are wild animals and it doesn't seem right to make them perform and live as they do (unnaturally that is). I kind of feel that way about zoos too, but many zoos now try their best to make the accomdations as natural as possible and I understand sometimes for certain species it is one way to educate and keep the species alive. A few suffer in a sense to educate us so we are more likely to help their natural habitats.

I only go to circus where the only animal acts are domestice animals. The Big Apple Circus is one - it is all human acts besides dogs, cats and horses. A much smaller circus than others too so the kids get a good view of the action.
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Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 11:46 am
DrewDad wrote:
They have a bunch of propaganda before, during, and after the show about their efforts to save the Asian elephant from extinction.

Apparently, they also did well in perpetuating an urban legend about a trainer who was killed attempting to help a constipated elephant.
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Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 11:52 am
I like to watch Animal Planet, National Geographic HD etc,
which have shown elefants in the wild, some of whom spend their lives
drudging from one water hole in the parched dessert, marching to the next one,
in scorching heat, while fearing that starving lions will prey upon their babies
(thay showed that happen)
or that their babies will be kidnapped by another herd or die of thirst,
whereas elefants in circuses now have all the food n water thay want or need,
in addition to medical attention. I am sure that thay have longer n healthier
life spans in modern circuses or zoos, n thay need not sweat out natural depredations.
The human owners have financial incentives to keep them in good health as long as possible.
Thay r expensive to replace.

WHICH is better ?

It may well be that in years past,
or even now in small, under financed circuses inhumane means r used
to train n control the animals, but that has diminished and is improving.
As to those smaller, under financed circuses,
perhaps we can analogize to children being taken into foster care:
sometimes thay were subjected to bad conditions. The government agencies
concerned with that try to police those unacceptable situations.

I agree that owners of animals (like Siegfried n Roy) love them.
When Roy got mauled, his first concern was that the offending tiger not be killed.

It seems to me, that the wild animals who r exposed to the extremes of weather,
drought, floods, flirting with starvation from famine, natural depredations,
parasites, illness with no medical attention, loss of habitat, n human poaching r not
as lucky as those animals in circuses or zoos.

The circumstances wherein these animals r kept may well be UNNATURAL,
but thay r BETTER n safer for them.

I suspect that if the animals coud express a choice,
thay 'd prefer the relative luxury of human care.

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Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 11:57 am
I once looked out a window in the Bronx,
not far from Fordham University, and saw an elefant
making his way along a crowded street.

I have no idea where he was going.
I was loathe to pry into his personal affairs.

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Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 08:49 am
Circus reality re animal cruelity:

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