How many children would choose to go to the circus if they knew what takes place behind the scenes? The music, lights and glitter create an illusion that the animals are having fun. But, what you see is a ruse. The elephants are not happy, nor do they enjoy what they are doing. The maintenance and training of circus elephants involves emotional and physical abuse.
- Elephants are confined and chained for literally hours on end;
- Through physical punishment and the threat of its use, they are trained to pose in unnatural and difficult positions;
- They are moved, in unbearable heat and below freezing temperatures, from city to city chained in flatbed trucks and in boxcars;
- Calves are separated from their mothers at an early age for the purpose of training;
- Elephants are removed from companions to be bought and sold, and frequently moved about;
- Circus elephants have no level of autonomy over their lives, to the extent where they are trained to defecate into a bucket on command.
Elephants in circuses are reduced to objects of entertainment for people. An elephant's place is in the wild with its relatives and companions. The totally unnatural existence for circus elephants is a travesty and to allow this practice to continue is unjustified and unethical.
Joyce Poole/ElephantVoices and other members of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants have written statements and articles about elephants in circuses if you would like to learn more. You can also find links to some other sources of information, including video documentation, which will give you insight into some of the many reasons why we believe that elephants do not belong in circuses. Furthermore you may want to check through our Frequently Asked Questions about elephants in captivity.
ElephantVoices' standpoint is that the use of elephants in circuses is abusive and should be prohibited.
Footage: Animal Defenders International, UK