Clowns, Acrobats, and Animal Blood | Teen Ink

Clowns, Acrobats, and Animal Blood

March 10, 2008
By Anonymous

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus is coming to Madison Square Garden! New Yorker of all ages will hurry to purchase tickets and swarm together to watch a performance of dazzling acrobats, silly clowns, daring lion tamers, and amusing elephants.
Everyone knows that the Ringling Bros. circus is a place for fun, glamour, and excitement. Everyone is aware that it boasts itself to be “the greatest show on Earth”, and everyone knows that nothing compares to the Ringling Bros. talented elephants. But does everyone know that according to, since 1992 more than twenty elephants have died under the care of this circus? Is everyone aware that everyday, Ringling Bros. elephants must suffer electric pods, cringe under bull hooks, and endure being chained for approximatly 90% of the time? When people joyously watch entertaining animals, are they oblivious to the fact that they are really slaves, abused and beaten into performing for an affluent audience?
We humans have polluted this world with our greed and hatred. The world of animals is the only pure world left. Unfortunately, circuses like the Ringling Bros. Circus are able to contaminate even that by enslaving animals for their own greedy plans. Such circuses remove animals from their natural environment and replace their free habitats with small and filthy cages. The animals suffer from inadequate veterinary help, a lack of exercise, and a deprivation of food and water. In order to teach animals to perform confusing and unnatural tricks, trainers abuse the animal with whips, electric pods, tasers, bull hooks, baseball bats, and pipes. Animal-rights organizations such as The League of Humane Voters and PETA have behind the scenes footage of trainers beating animals into submission. (Such videos are available online on websites like,, and The videos also demonstrate the trainers’ approach to teaching, “If he f---s around too much, you sink that hook and give it everything you got,” and “Sink that hook into em…When you hear that screaming, then you know you got their attention,” an elephant trainer declares as he swings a bull hook menacingly. Besides the beatings displayed in the videos, trainers incorporate other inhumane methods into their training. Animals usually get their teeth and nails removed to ensure human safety. Trainers tend to burn the front paws of bears in order to encourage them to stand on their hind legs, and many animals are calmed and forced into obedience with drugs. Before performances, bloody wounds the circus animals often sport are covered up by a powder called Wonder Dust, to keep the audience oblivious of the pain that their entertainment must endure.
Animals are dying by the minute. In the 1900, the Asian elephant population towered at 200,000. Currently, the existing amount of Asian elephants is down to a mere 35,000.The Ft. Worth Zoo Study 2000 predicts that Asian elephants under human care and without a concentrated effort on breeding would face extinction in 2049. Perhaps a concentrated effort on death reduction would prove more effective and humane than bringing yet another generation into a life of slavery, captivity, and abuse.
Banning animal acts in circuses does not mean that entertainment must suffer. If a child or human experiences a desire to observe animals, cruelty-free attractions like zoos and aquariums serve as perfect alternatives. Furthermore, plenty of circuses have gained success and fame without the need to enslave animals. One of the most elite of such non-animal circuses is Cirque du Soleil, whose beauty and creativity has caused the circus to accumulate an audience of roughly 33 million spectators. Critics rave about Cirque du Soleil, which is able to out-shine circuses like the Ringling Bros. Circus without having to integrate animals into their acts; “Cirque du Soleil is so vastly superior to something as passé as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey” says the Miami Herald. “…Cirque du Soleil continues to demonstrate how wonderfully entertaining and humane animal-free circus can be…” the Los Angeles Times praises.
Stopping animal cruelty in circuses is possible. A simple solution is to refuse to attend the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus when it comes to Madison Square Garden this March. Instead, attend a ballet, zoo, ice-skating performance, aquarium, museum, play, opera, or comedy show. Choose to put a helpless, suffering animals’ desire before your own. Suggest an animal free circus instead of the one coming to your city. Write to New York Senators Hilary Clinton and Charles Schumer urging them to ban animal acts in circuses. Join or donate to an animal-rights organization such as PETA, ASPCA, SAPL, WSPA, etc. Get involved in anyway you can.
Countries like Austria, Costa Rica, and Finland have banned animal acts nation wide. Other countries, like India, Sweden, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, and Greece are following close in their footsteps. And yet America, an advanced country that deems itself to be the land of the free, has not yet banned this modern slavery all together. What’s keeping us? For every day we continue to allow animal cruelty in circuses, an elephant is being brutally beaten. Human slavery was abolished in 1865. When will animal slavery be abolished?

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