07 Mar
  • By Lizzie Lynch

Circus Animal Abuse: Chained to Captivity.

Some people in the world see circuses as fun, harmless, family-friendly entertainment. While the rest of us see them as a gruesome, disgusting use of beautiful animals.

Lions, tigers, elephants and many more wild animals are being whipped, beaten and forced to perform daily. They are taken from their natural habitat and are made to recite tricks in front of loud, screaming crowds.

This kind of treatment of animals is outrageous yet this has been the norm for many, many years.

Circuses can be very lucrative for the owners and operators as they are a popular attraction for families and because of this, the animals are made go through rough and vigorous training where they are abused. Circus trainers have been known to use muzzles, shock collars and whips as well as many other painful tools in order to force the animals to perform their tricks.

It is a known fact that tigers have a natural fear of fire. Yet, at the circus, tigers are forced to jump through rings of fire and many of them end up burnt by the hot flames. Many of these circuses travel from site to site every few days and in many cases, the animals here are treated much worse than the animals in the circuses that don’t travel.


When they are being moved around, the animals are normally squashed into a small cage with limited food and water. They could spend hours or even days here while the circus operators are travelling to their next venue. They are cold, they are scared and alone and this level of abuse has gone unnoticed for far too long.

Keeping wild animals in captivity like this has proven to be very dangerous to both the animals and the humans around it and there have been reported cases of these animals acting out in anger and frustration resulting in serious injury and even death to their trainers and members of the public.

For instance, at a circus in France in May 2017, a lion attacked and badly injured a tamer during the live show. The audience looked on in horror while the man in his 30s was thrown around the lion enclosure. The other tamers tried to help and managed to free the man from the cage unfortunately he had already been injured. It is said that the lion had slashed his throat.

Then, in China in August 2017, a tiger grabbed hold of a trainer and dragged him around the stage. Luckily for the trainer, he was only lightly injured as his colleagues were on hand to beat the tiger enough to make it let go of him. The staff at this circus then said that the tiger was, in fact, tired and overworked as he had been made perform ten times previously that day.

And let us not forget the infamous SeaWorld attack in 2010 in which Tilikum the orca attacked and killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau in front of a live audience. In the gruesome attack, the whale had completely ripped off her arm, scalped her and drowned her. Dawn had worked alongside Tilikum for many years and she was a very experienced trainer. It was so incredibly sad and shocking when her death occurred.


These events all happened because the animals were angry, frustrated and overworked and had been kept in captivity for years and these kinds of attacks happen much more frequently than you think.

Finally, after years and years of petitions and protests and letters to the government, Ireland banned the use of wild animals in circuses in 2017 which came into effect in January 2018.

Now, the UK has followed suit and has said that using wild animals in travelling circuses will be banned by 2020. It goes without saying that this is a great result and the fact that the movement is spreading from country to country is a good sign for the future.

It seems that governments are beginning to open their eyes and see that animals should not be treated this way. They shouldn’t be beaten, whipped, electrocuted, chained and caged. They should be treated with care and respect and be allowed to live in their natural habitat.  Hopefully, going forward, more and more people will see that this abuse is wrong and circuses using wild animals will become a thing of the past.



Lizzie Lynch

Lizzie tries to do her best to make a positive change in the community and she regularly volunteers to help the homeless and the elderly living alone. She’s also been part of an organisation called Junior Achievement and has gone to schools to teach children from disadvantaged areas.
She has taken part in numerous fundraising events for many different charities and organisations. She’s done everything from fasting to skydiving from 10,000 feet.

Her hobbies include gaming, reading, playing the ukulele, zumba, cooking and trying to befriend her grumpy pet hedgehog, Peeves.