In India, it’s illegal to force bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers, lions, and bulls to perform in circuses or any other kind of show. But many other animals – including elephants, dogs, camels, horses, and birds – are hauled around the country in cramped trucks along with circus equipment and made to perform confusing, frightening, and even painful tricks. Circuses go to great lengths to hide the dark side of the big top: animals beaten bloody, torn away from their families, and kept imprisoned.
Beaten and Battered
When not being forced to perform, animals used in circuses spend nearly all their time in chains or inside cramped cages or vehicles. Whips and other weapons are used to keep them “in line”. Handlers jab elephants with ankuses – heavy, sharp steel-tipped batons – to keep them compliant and afraid. Animals would never perform grotesquely atypical types of behaviour – such as headstands or jumping through rings of fire – on command without the constant threat of violent punishment.
A PETA India investigation into circuses documented appalling abuse:
Animals forced to entertain the public are denied everything that gives their lives meaning: the comfort and companionship of family and friends, the freedom to move about and exercise, and the opportunity to make independent decisions.
- Never go to an animal circus. When people buy a ticket, they’re supporting the suffering of animals. Talk to family, friends, and co-workers, especially those with small children who may be inclined to go. Explain to them that every ticket purchased directly contributes to the misery the animals endure.
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has recently proposed a notification to ban the use of all animals in circuses across the country. You can help by letting the Ministry know you support this initiative. Take action here: