Four Reasons Why I Won’t Take My Kids to the Circus

By Kathy Guillermo

Like every mother‚ I want to raise children to be strong‚ confident‚ and compassionate. I want my kids to understand that the choices that we make may affect others in profound ways and that we must be especially careful not to harm—or support others who harm—those who are defenseless. Just as we would never hit or yell at our dog‚ Jenny‚ we would never support cruelty by going to the circus.

When other mothers ask me about this‚ I tell them the following:

  1. Circuses chain‚ cage‚ and hurt animals. Even if the audience doesn’t see it‚ we know that elephants are shackled for their entire lives‚ beaten by handlers who want to establish dominance‚ and separated from their families. Animals in circuses can’t make even one decision about their own lives. They live and travel in caged squalor.
  2. Children identify with animals. Like animals in the circus‚ children are completely at the mercy of stronger beings. If they see animals who are being humiliated and forced to perform unnatural acts‚ they get the message loud and clear that it is acceptable to bully weaker beings.
  3. What children really want is time with their families. Having fun with their parents and siblings is what matters—and there are so many great activities that are both fun and humane. Toddlers love shows such as Dora Live and those put on by The Wiggles‚ while my school-age kids want to go to science and art museums and attend baseball games. Even a simple game night at home can be a wonderful‚ warm experience.
  4. There are better ways to learn about animals than going to the circus. Volunteer at a wildlife rescue center‚ or check out a great documentary about animals in their own homes. Visit and see—via live video feed—elephants who now live in a spacious sanctuary after being rescued from circuses and zoos.

Sign our pledge to stop circus cruelty.

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  • samie commented on November 30, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    lets stop this maddness

  • hotzula commented on July 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Reason 1: animal cruelty makes me cry
    Reason 2: I’m afraid of clowns

  • Little Mimi commented on July 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Brilliant. This could not be said any better than the way it has. Besides this individuals support to end animal cruelty, they also focussed on how they want their children to grow and see our world thru the eyes of animals. Giving them respect, speaking out for animal rights, ending cruelty. Our children will grow with kindness, love and never cruelty. Not only do the elephants, lions, tigers and all other animals in the circus thank you, so do I.

  • Ashley commented on July 11, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Great article, and so true. Every circus would be better off if they cut out the animal acts. I was taken to the circus when I was a kid, and I was excited to see the animals because I have always loved animals, but I did not like what was being done to them. I remember that I found the elephant and big cat acts to be boring, forced and abnoxious. I felt sad for the animals and hated the trainers. The parts of the circus that I really enjoyed and still remember were the trapeze artists and the ridiculous pair of french clowns who were all talented and did not involve any animals at all.

  • Patty commented on July 13, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    FABULOUS Article and wish I had copies of it for last weekends circus that I leafletted. What i saw hrs. BEFORE the circus would make you cry too, besides what we already know.
    PLEASE EDUCATE EVERYONE u can about circuses!
    Thank you and Blessings,
    Patty Bowers

  • Shelley-Sue commented on July 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Circuses are cruel to animals! I no longer go to circuses because of this.

  • Maggie commented on July 15, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Education is the key. People need to be educated on why the The Tennesse Sanctuary exists, why PAWs in Galt, CA exists. These places exist because of the circus and zoos. Each precious animal has the same story, and we society continue with the same pattern. Can someone please tell me if the Asian/Afican elephant is an endangered species, why does the USDA allow the elephants to be part of that enviroment. Humilated, beaten , chained up, poked pronged, for public amusement, Why can someone please answer this. The whole situation is sickening and the USDA should stand up and enforce and up date their law. These cruelty circus acts do not belong in modern day society.

  • eddy commented on July 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    We have enough proof that circusses without animals can be incredibly entertaining, fun and impressive. Cirque du Soleil must be one of the most succesfull circus “acts” ever. Not a single animal is involved in their acts….must I say more? I simply do not understand the sub-humans who think animal tricks are fun and great entertainment. Move on people….use your brain and show your children the real thing. Take them on a whale watching tour, go visit and volunteer in a wild life rescue center, show them an Animal Planet documentary, and for those fortunate ones …safe up to take them to see the “real” thing…from a distance without hurting, harming or interfering….. Isn’t that the most beautifull gift you can give your child??

  • Priscilla Larios commented on July 28, 2011 at 6:17 am

    When you know better, you do better… So people reading this…you know better now… Plz do not participate in attending ANY circus that have animals ! Plz !

  • M.. commented on July 30, 2011 at 1:26 am

    The circus with ” performing ” animals is passe! Today, we have fantastic acts and displays of entertainment by Cirq du Soleil etc.This is far more entertaining and fun to watch, than animal tricks learned through hardship and deprivation.

  • Cecilia Greene Mahoney commented on February 5, 2015 at 9:23 am

    As adults it our responsibility to educate ourselves about the treatment of animals before exposing our children to known cruelty.

  • make extra money from home commented on June 5, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Also, most of our clientele are seniors, which never seem to know a lot about YouTube and other social media!

  • Bob commented on January 15, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    My Parents never let me go to the circus and now I am realizing why. STOP THE CRUELTY!!!