What About Domestic Animals in Circuses?

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Abusive training and constant confinement in circuses apply to domestic animals as well as exotic animals. And while horses and ponies are among the most commonly used animals in circuses, they receive the least protection, as they are excluded from the regulation under the Animal Protection Act. Positive reinforcement alone will not compel any animal to follow commands to perform the types of complex maneuvers in the typical circus routine - day after day, hundreds of times a year. There will be days when an animal does not feel well or, for whatever reason, does not wish to perform. Because circuses have to satisfy paying customers, trainers cannot afford to let an animal "get away with" a poor performance. The consequences of failure are swift and painful.

Among the complaints that constitute cruelty to domestic animals, reported to PETA by circusgoers and whistleblowers, are these:

Horses and ponies are gregarious animals - extremely social. After being unloaded from their horse boxes or transporters they are often confined in tents, separated from their companions by stalls, which do not allow socialising or mutual grooming. Often horse will be tethered or kept in tiny pens for the entire time they are not performing or rehearsing. If exercise enclosures are provided, these are generally very small - it is unlikely a horse would gallop or really exercise in one. Behavioral abnormalities have been observed in circus horses.

Although, performing dogs could be kept as pets, living with a presenter, they are often kept in cages on tour or tied up when they are not performing.

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Domestic animals in the circus [ 62.65 Kb ]



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