Stop Circus Animal Suffering – Protestors Urge Audiences to Shun the Wild Animal Circus
September 16, 2014, GRAND RAPIDS, MI– Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling on the local community to stay away from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and avoid supporting an industry that involves cruelty and suffering to animals.
Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling circuses show that circuses cannot meet the physical or behavioral needs of wild animals. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters. These animals are often seen behaving abnormally; rocking, swaying and pacing, all indicating that they are in distress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear and intimidation.
“Keeping wild animals like lions, tigers, bears and elephants chained and shut in small spaces, then beating them to perform tricks for human entertainment shames us all,” said Matt Rossell, ADI Campaigns Director.
ADI is calling on supporters to warn audiences of the behind-the-scenes suffering of animals in traveling circuses when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to Grand Rapids, Michigan on Saturday, September 20, 2014.
WHAT: Ringling Circus Protest
WHEN: Saturday, September 20 from 12:30pm – 3:00pm
WHERE: Van Andel Arena, 130 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
Local campaigners will be handing out leaflets and informing audiences about the suffering and telling people that the animal circus is no longer acceptable in a modern, advanced society. Circus owners are urged to leave animals out of future productions.
Karen Tracey, local ADI representative said, “When families find out about the routine abuses that go on behind the scenes at circuses, they will be shocked and will not want to expose their children to this cruelty.”
About Animal Defenders International
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals and educates the public.
Background – worldwide movement to end use of wild animals in traveling shows
The evidence that the suffering caused to wild animals by the constant travel, severe restrictions on movement and unnatural lifestyle has prompted authorities and governments around the world to end their use.
In the United States, 45 cities/counties in 21 states have taken action to restrict wild animals from traveling circuses. And around the world, hundreds of local ordinances are in place, including in the UK, Europe, and South America.
National restrictions on performing animals in traveling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 27 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, and Taiwan. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, Brazil, Chile, Malta, Mexico and The Netherlands.
Whether it is a traveling circus, or travel from county show to county show, the confinement for the animals is the same:
- Traveling circuses cannot meet the physical, psychological or behavioral needs of wild animals, due to severe confinement, physical and social deprivation, long periods of time in transporters, with brutal control methods and physical violence.
- It is a myth that wild animals are trained with kindness and reward; the tools of the trade include stun guns and other electric prods, metal bars, whips, bullhooks (a heavy bar with a sharpened point and hook), deprivation of food and water and intimidation.
- Keeping stressed, large and dangerous wild animals close to the public in lightweight, temporary enclosures has proven disastrous. Workers and members of the public have been killed and maimed; lions, tigers and elephants have all escaped.
- It is estimated that around 12% of Asian and 2% of African elephants in North America have tuberculosis (TB), a disease transmissible from elephants to humans.
- Because of the traveling nature of the circus, animal welfare officers have difficulties with protecting the animals, inspections and associated time and costs. This justifies a restriction, for the protection of the animals and the public.
- Circuses must change with the times. Human only circuses are thriving. Cirque du Soleil now has 19 shows in 271 cities, generating an estimated $810 million a year. Whereas the wild animal traveling show, Piccadilly Circus, recently canceled performances across Southern California due to poor ticket sales.
- Circus workers perform multiple roles; staff can be retrained, so jobs are not lost. Circus Vargas removed their animal acts and the business continues. Surveys have shown that a decline in animal circuses can be matched by a rise in circuses with human performers.