Three Rings of Cruelty

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Three Rings of Cruelty Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, step right up and witness the amazing feats presented before your very eyes! Grab a bag of peanuts, a stick of cotton candy and find your seats, because you’re going to need them. Since animals do not usually stand on their heads, ride unicycles, or wear glitzy bow-ties, circus workers take it upon themselves to force the animals into submission by utilizing inhumane methods. Circus animals are made to live in substandard conditions where they have little access to food, water, and virtually no space to run and play. A circus is the epitome of innocence, or is it? Because behind the circus’ merry exterior lies a world of cruelty where animals ranging from the exotic to domestic are being needlessly exploited and abused by their trainers. The circus industry is selective in the nature of information it releases to the public, thereby maintaining its facade of innocence. Between May of 1993 and August of 2001 there have been over fifty accounts of animal abuse occurring in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. During this time, seventeen elephants died or were euthanized. Out of those seventeen, only five deaths were announced to the general public (PETA, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Fact Sheet, np). This is the same public who spends thousands of dollars each year to attend and keep shows like this in business. Yet the circus is reluctant in divulging any information regarding the very things these people pay money to see. Perhaps the circus believes these deaths are private matters, not important enough to mention. It is more likely though, to assume that it fears what may happen if the news of these deaths were to spread further. There would undoubtedly be a drop in attendance, which would result in a drop in revenue. If not enough money is brought into the circus, it has no choice but to close. Instead of spending money to maintain the animals’ well-being the cash is used to keep the circus afloat and on the road. After being sued for animal abuse in July of 2000, Catherine Ort-Mabry ,a spokeswoman from Ringling stated, “The show provides its animals with the highest standards of care.” (ABPnews, Circus Sued for Animal Abuse. np) Her statement is a laughable fallacy when examining the high mortality rate in the elephants in circuses is due to captivity induced foot problems and arthritis.

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