| Q: These animals know no different, as they
are born in captivity.
A: The extensive research of the issue shows clearly that although
we have taken the animals out of the wild the wild is still in the
animals! There are two main issues here, one is that the animals
are born behind bars and the other is that they are still very much
‘wild’. (See the ‘Incidents’ page, in 2001
Geoffrey Lennon, trainer, attacked by three lions.)
Firstly, Even though some exotic animals used in circuses have
been born behind bars or in chains they still retain their strong
instincts to ‘roam’ hundreds of miles, or swing through
trees, and to be with their other members of the same species. (See
Arna, the solitary elephant brief, www.animalliberation.com.au)
No matter for how long we continue to breed some animals it will
take hundreds maybe thousands of years to breed the wildness out
of the animal.
One or two generations does not make a wild exotic animal a domestic
animal. In fact they are not domesticated at all but rather, ‘tamed’
which is entirely different. (See ‘Issues’ page; Dr
William Jordan, Domestication vs. Taming).
When we lock these magnificent wild animals in crates and chains
we are denying them the expression of their natural behaviours;
a cruelty that can become so overwhelming causing aggression, depression
and extreme frustration that the animal can go insane.
As for the ‘they are born in captivity’. Regardless
of where these have had the misfortune to be born into that is into
circus slavery the issue still relates back to the fact that they
are still ‘wild’ animals. They have definite requirements
and due to the very nature of a circus, these cannot be met in a
Shall we keep the children born in prison, in prison just because
of where they were born? No. They are innocent victims and have
a right to freedom. So it is, for all the ‘wild exotic animals
Q: The circus really looks after the animals, don’t
A: No matter how well any circus appears to look after the animals,
no matter how good their intent, the issue here is that the animals
should not be kept in cages and chains, made to perform acts that
do not come naturally and would not do so if given a choice, made
to travel thousands of kilometres during all kinds of temperature
changes and denied their natural behaviours. It is immoral and unethical
of modern society to expect that zoos in our communities make changes
and improvements to the conditions in which they maintain their
animals while still allowing circuses using exotic ‘wild’
animals to peddle their cruelty.
Would you shut your cat or dog in a cage for the majority of their
Q: If circuses give the animals up, is there anywhere for
these animals to go or will they be put down?
A: We know of not one animal rights/welfare group that would advocate
the release of any wild exotic animal used in circuses into the
‘wild’. That would be most irresponsible. The fact that
the lions have had their claws removed at around 6 months of age
makes them partially defenceless.
Circuses have created a situation whereby they have taken charge
of animals bred for use in an outdated activity, removed the ability
of the animal to survive in a wild environment, conditioned the
animals to rely on human interference, and then put the responsibility
of placement of these animals onto the agenda of an animal welfare
agency, should the circus be made to release the animals.
The fact is that the animal welfare groups who are very distressed
at the continued use of these animals have found there are places
(free range zoos in SA and NSW), that will take animals that have
been used by circuses. In reality, placement needs to be examined
at the time when the circus is prepared to release them once and
for all and not before as a result of emotional blackmail.
Q: Were any exotic wild animals put down as a result of
Perth City or indeed Lake Macquarie in NSW placing a ban on the
use of exotic animals on their land?
We have been hearing for some time now that if councils place,
by way of a policy, a ban on exotic animal based circuses on council
operated or controlled land then the circus will have to put the
animals down as there will be no where for them to go. Scare tactics
have and always will be used as emotional blackmail leverage on
councillors and indeed politicians, urging them to allow exotic
animal based circuses. That is an easy way of playing on the conscience
of the person in power.
No wild exotic animals were put down as a consequence of a ban
by these councils.
Q: Aren’t the animals loved by the circus?
A: Whether or not the animals are loved by the circus is not the
point. This issue is not about human emotion but about animal requirements.
What is best for these animals is not to live in cramped conditions
causing extreme frustration and misery but to have conditions as
near as possible to that in the wild, to allow the animals the freedom
to behave as nature intended. Animal welfare is about the animals
not about humans. It is time for the few remaining circuses still
insisting on using animals to change and keep up with community
expectations, free the animals from circus slavery and thus become
Q: My kids love the circus. Aren’t you trying to
stop their entertainment?
A: Circus Watch WA loves human circuses like Cirque du Soliel too.
The brilliant talent displayed is nothing short of mind boggling.
We welcome all human circuses.
Ask yourself is it acceptable for your children to see animal cruelty
dressed up as so called ‘entertainment’? If yes, then
will you take your children to see a bull fight, or cockfight, a
bear baiting session or a ‘dancing bear show’? If you
answered no to the first question, then why yes to a circus using
We as adults see animals in cages and can understand the issues
before us. Wild exotic animals spending their whole lives in cages
and chains just for ten minutes of human amusement per show is a
reflection of how selfish we still are.
There is no justification for our allowing this appalling situation
to continue and every time you take your children to see the circus
even though you may understand the opposition to the use of these
creatures, not like to see the exotic animals and their lack of
suitable conditions either, you are supporting animal cruelty.
Human circuses can always come and will always be welcomed by everyone.
We have heard comments to the effect that if a circus can not bring
the exotic animals they will not come. So be it. To be challenged
in such a way that places our ethics and morals on the line for
a little human fun is immoral to say the least.
Q: Isn’t seeing lions, monkeys and elephants in the
A: Seeing animals made to perform ‘acts’ teaches us
nothing about the animal, where it comes from, how they live in
the wild, their current conservation status, their natural behaviours,
their particular requirements, how they interact with other animals
or their place in nature. Circuses teach children that animals are
there to be laughed at, there to be used however we see fit and
are there for our amusement. Exotic animals in circuses teach children
that we can cage or chain animals because we can. The animals that
most need our protection from this sort of exploitation and abuse
suffer and are still suffering from our indifference and ignorance.
The RSPCA in the UK stated in their report that although they were
not primarily a conservation organisation they knew of no reputable
conservation body, either in Britain or internationally, that would
support the view expressed in the Report that circuses offer conservation,
education and scientific benefits. Neither, so far as they were
aware, is any circus actively involved in any captive breeding programme
for reintroduction or conservation of any species. Perhaps the best
assessment of educational benefit from animals in a performing environment
is contained in the Government's Review of Dolphinaria, by Klinowska
and Brown. This Report states that a panel of education experts
"....concerned that the unnatural, anthropomorphic exhibition
of animals as performers may be merely showing the majority who
witness the displays (particularly children) that animals' existence
is legitimated only by their ability to meet the demands for human
entertainment. This is considered to be anti-educational."
(See the issue page. RSPCA Report)
The RSPCA UK concluded that::
Since there is evidence of suffering, and no evidence of animal
welfare benefit of any kind, the RSPCA concludes that there is no
justification for the use of wild animals in circuses.
The RSPCA can see no way in which the suffering associated with
the keeping of wild animals in circuses can be totally eliminated;
the very nature of the circus business imposes such constraints
on the way in which wild animals are kept that there must always
be significant levels of stress.
We have heard comments from people that it is the only opportunity
for children to see exotic animals. The same argument can be said
for the taking of other animals from the wild so that humans can
see them doing totally unnatural acts. For the majority of the world
whaling is abhorrent. We wish to preserve and protect these creatures.
We are in the year 2003, and to remove a whale from the ocean to
enable a child to see it jump through a hoop is now absolutely unacceptable..
So why is it acceptable for humans to continue to allow exotic animals
to be used in circuses?
Take your children to a zoo. Get out a video or watch David Attenborough
on one of his nature shows.
Q: Circuses can practice ‘natural attrition’
and stop using exotic animals can’t they?
A: Yes they can but will they? The reality of the situation is
that there is no legislation in place anywhere in Australia that
ensures that the industry adheres to any statement a circus member
may make in relation to the issue of ‘natural attrition’.
This term actually means that when the animals in circuses die
they will not be replaced. However, that is a difficult process
to monitor. Who will police the animal movements between circuses?
Who will check on the identities of the animals to allow the policing
of ‘natural attrition’ to occur?
We feel statements conceding natural attrition are worthless and
we doubt that any member of the circus industry would be prepared
to commit to paper. Self regulation nearly always fails. Whenever
there are situations whereby money is made from the use of animals,
the animals invariably are the losers and circuses are no different.
There are breeders breeding lions and monkeys in NSW as you read
this, for the circus industry. This will not stop so long as there
are circuses willing to purchase the animals. (As a rule, elephants
are not bred in Australia within the circus environment therefore
any elephants would need to be imported to replenish the stocks.
The importation of elephants has been banned due to the CITES agreement
to which Australia is a signatory and has been since 1976.)