Save Animals

9 Big Cat Facts Circuses Don’t Want You To Know

The good news: Ringling Bros. has agreed to phase out its cruel elephant acts by 2018, which means no more elephants will be abused by the circus! 🙂

The bad news: Other animals, like big cats, will continue to be mistreated and even killed for human “entertainment.” 🙁

Here are nine reasons why big cats do NOT belong in the circus:

1. Big cats used by circuses are often forced to live in tiny cages.

This means that they often have to sleep, eat, drink, and even poop in the same cramped space. Can you imagine having to eat in the same place where you go to the bathroom? Yuck!


The only time that many big cats are given a break from their cages is during their short circus performances—when they must deal with loud, stressful crowds and being whipped.

2. Tigers are naturally semi-nocturnal and love water.

Animals who are semi-nocturnal sometimes sleep during the day and are active at nighttime. But in the circus, tigers are often forced to perform during the day and aren’t allowed to sleep when they want to. This means that they’re required to live a life that’s totally unnatural to them. Tigers also love water, but in circuses, they aren’t given access to any type of watering hole.

3. They’re trained through punishment.

Big cats in circuses are often abused when they perform a trick incorrectly. Sometimes, they are hit or have their food taken away. Can you imagine not being allowed to eat simply because you couldn’t do a confusing trick?


4. Tigers are naturally afraid of fire …

… but they’re still forced to jump through rings of fire in circus shows! This means that they’re more afraid of being punished by their trainers than they are of the flames.

5. In the wild, cubs form loving bonds with their moms.

But lions and tigers in circuses are typically taken away from their moms shortly after birth.


6. Captivity often makes animals go crazy.

The stress of such an unnatural environment and the pressure to perform causes some big cats to pace back and forth and even hurt themselves.


7. Tigers need their alone time.

Tigers are naturally solitary animals, meaning that in the wild, they spend lots of time on their own. However, circuses ignore this fact and force them to interact and perform with other animals. This has been known to cause fights and injuries.


8. Circuses actually get away with this horrible abuse.

No government agency watches circus training sessions, so officials don’t see what goes on. But undercover footage shows that big cats are dragged by heavy chains around their necks and even hit with sticks.

9. There have been many deaths.

Since 1990, 126 captive big cats and 23 humans have died in the U.S. as a result of keeping these animals in captivity. More than 255 humans have been injured.