Condemn the Circus Cruelty
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The circus conjures images of a large striped tent bursting with acrobats, clowns and jugglers. Crowds of excited audience members circle the centre stage where the ringmaster introduces an act involving animals. As the animal obediently performs countless tasks, this humorous exterior conceals the shocking abuse and cruelty that the animal suffers daily. After the controversial debate over whether animals should be used in circus acts resurfaced in parliament recently, it raises one defining question: when will the government finally put an end to this suffering? The RSPCA estimates that there are up to 200 animals being used in British circuses. Thirty-seven of these are wild animals, including zebras, lions, snakes, tigers, camels, crocodiles and a kangaroo as well as domestic animals, such as horses and dogs. The animals are trained to perform activities that range from riding a bike, standing on their heads and balancing on balls to jumping through rings of fire. Whilst the trainers intend these scenes to be funny, the animal’s confused expression makes it clear that the animal had to suffer shocking abuse in order to learn the trick. Obviously, animals wouldn’t naturally learn how to perform these activities, and so their trainers use a variety of shocking methods to force the animal into learning them. Horrific equipment such as whips, collars, muzzles and even electric prods and bullhooks are used. Undercover filming of these training sessions have further shown one circus using blowtorches. Many of these animals were born into the circus or taken from the wild as babies, meaning that the circus life is the only life they have ever known.
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