Animal Rights Activists Speak Out Against the Circus

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In today’s entry, Julian Omidi discusses recent criticisms of the circus industry.

Many believe that using animals for live entertainment is cruel and unnatural; others believe that as long as these animals are being treated humanely, it’s relatively harmless. In the past few months, activists across the country have been bringing attention to the suffering of circus animals and calling Americans to stop using live animal shows as a form of entertainment.

Earlier this month, American Eagle Outfitters pulled a T-shirt from stores that depicted a circus elephant. This recall was prompted by criticism from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA.) Spokeswoman Stephanie Shaw claimed this was due to “abuses the elephants suffer when they are forced to perform in circuses,” and shortly after American Eagle released a statement clarifying that they “explicitly oppose the inhuman treatment of animals, and do not tolerate cruelty in the design, manufacturing, or testing of [our] products.”

Late last month, protesters gathered outside of a traveling circus in San Marcos, California in an attempt to dissuade potential customers from attending the show. Many individuals consider the circus to be a grotesque spectacle of animal cruelty and call for them to be banned. The USDA routinely performs inspections of these circuses, but activists say that’s not enough.

The week of July 8th, activists protested at the ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt, NY to stop the upcoming Cole Bros. Circus from starting their show on the mall site. The group’s main concern was with the animal’s exposure to heat and humidity from performing on a hot pavement. However, Cole Bros. marketing director Randy Hales claimed that all of their animals are cared for properly and “steps are taken to ensure they have enough water and shade.”

These are just a few of the numerous examples of activist groups standing up to further animal welfare and human treatment around the world. Before you or your family attend a circus, try to be mindful of whether or not these animals are being treated ethically.


Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi