The circus is no fun for animals! Animals in circuses are beaten, chained, and forced to live lonely, sad lives. Although some children dream of running away to join the circus, most animals forced to perform stupid, silly tricks in circuses dream of running away from them.
If you don't want to support animal cruelty, stay away from zoos and circuses. But if it's part of a class trip, what can you do? Speak up! Tell your teacher (and have your parents do the same) that you would rather go on a field trip that doesn't support animal cruelty. Let your classmates know what's wrong with circuses and zoos, too. They may join you in your efforts! You never knoweven though teachers seem to know more than you, they may not know why circuses and zoos are bad for animals, so give them an education! Write a letter to the editor whenever the circus comes to town. At Christmas, organize a donation of fresh fruit and nuts to take and deliver to the zoo animals-call and let them know you're coming and write a letter to the editor about the event.
Some zoos and aquariums try to make "natural habitats" for the animals they collect, but they're about as natural as it would be if your parent moved you into the garage---permanently. Some zoo animals suffer from neglect and abuse, too. Zoos teach people that it's OK to keep animals in captivitybored, cramped, lonely, and far from their real homes.
What to do if the rodeo comes to town.
... are a leftover of the old West that should go the way of Little House on the Prairie after 10 years on the aircanceled (but without the re-runs)! Animals in rodeos are treated as "disposable" because they're usually on their way to the slaughterhouse. Horses, steer, calves, and other animals have had their necks, backs, and legs broken, and some have even died in rodeos. There aren't many laws that protect animals used and abused in rodeos, but some places are working to help. In Rhode Island, calf-roping (where big ol' cowboys and cowgirls show the world how tough they are by roping weeks-old calves around their necks and slamming them into the ground) is banned. In Pittsburgh, Pa., a law outlawing electric prods and flank straps pretty much bans rodeos, since most rodeos use these devices.
So, what do you do if the rodeo comes to your town? First of all, don't support animal cruelty by buying a ticket! Write a letter to the editor to educate others about what happens to animals in the rodeo. Write and call your local town or city officials encouraging them to ban rodeos. If your school is planning a field trip to the rodeo, let your teacher know rodeos are cruel to animals and ask for a different trip (like a roller-skating party!). Make sure your parents write to the teacher and school, too. If you have a group of friends who feel the same way about the rodeo as you do, take a box of leaflets (order from PETA) and hand them out to people going into the rodeo. (For information about student activism, write Education@peta-online.org and ask for our student activist kit.)