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The Three Ring Prison Essay

1283 words - 6 pages

When adults take their children to the circus, they expect their child to be mesmerized. What is there for a child not to be captivated by? Between the dazzling display of lights, the vast amount of animals, and the entertaining clowns all over the place, the circus is a great experience for any child. While the tigers are jumping through hoops of fire, the elephants are being prepared to go out into the center ring. The audience is going wild and the children are screaming in excitement. Before the elephants begin their march into the ring, the trainers, behind the scenes, take one last hit at them with their bull hooks. One elephant trumpets in pain as the hook gashes its skin. While all ...view middle of the document...

Reality). Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey make sure to keep all mistreatment of the animals out of public view. This is because no agencies have any guidelines that are set to monitor training sessions, which is where most of the abuse is being given (Ringling vs. Reality). This company is supposed to be looked up to by many young children but in reality, they force great pain on the objects that make them the most money- the animals.
Life on the road can be very harsh for these animals, most of which are supposed to be living in the vast plains and forests of the world. These animals are being transported in boxcars all across America for up to 50 weeks a year (3 Reasons). Knowing the size of boxcars, I am left wondering how they shove elephants into those for long hours. Not only is the life on the road tough for these animals but also life at the circus is extreme. Elephants are being chained by their ankles and are only given a few feet to move around (Animal Circuses). In the wild, elephants are known to be extremely social and live in large groups that travel miles every day (Newkirk). For these elephants, being chained by the ankles in circuses is equivalent for humans serving a life long prison sentence. Circuses can get away with these cruel conditions because the Animal Welfare Act currently has no regulations specifically pertaining to elephants (Ringling vs. Reality). Elephants are not the only animals being given extremely small living areas; horses, tigers, and lions are given cages that provide them with just enough room to turn around (which is all that is required by the Animal Welfare Act).
When these animals are given the opportunity to leave their undersized living areas, it does not get any better for them. Some of the only times the animals get to go out of their cages are for training and performances. Training is kept very secretive for circuses because that is where most of the abuse if being held. While training the animals, trainers are hitting them with sharp bullhooks and hotshots (metal sticks that deliver an electrical shock). “If circuses relied only on positive reinforcement, trainers would be carrying bags of treats instead of weapons” (3 Reasons). The Animal Welfare Act is only requiring the bare minimum for the care of these circus animals. If stricter guidelines are not set into place, methods of training in circuses will only get worse. Why don’t the animals just attack back? According to Ingrid E. Newkirk, president and founder of PETA, “A frightened animal trying to keep from being hurt again is an obedient animal.” These animals have been abused so much that along with their...

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