Here are nine reasons why big cats do NOT belong in the circus:
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.
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.
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?
… 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.
But lions and tigers in circuses are typically taken away from their moms shortly after birth.
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.
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.
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.
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.