In a recent interview, Louis Leonard, Director of Cirque Estival, said that during the nearly 3-month 70-show tour, Limba the elephant (who was snared as a baby and enslaved for the past 40+ years) performs for about 7 minutes of each show.
The majority of elephants used in circuses are captured in the wild as babies. In 2000, poachers killed 60 free-roaming female elephants so that their babies could be collected and sold to the entertainment industry. The still-nursing elephants, all under the age of 3, refused to abandon their dead mothers, even attempting to suckle from their corpses.
Baby elephants born in breeding farms are torn from their mothers, tied with ropes, and kept in isolation until they learn to fear their trainers.
One study of traveling circuses observed an elephant who spent up to 96 percent of her time in chains. The circus deprives animals of their basic needs to exercise, roam, socialize, forage, and play.
Repetitive and often destructive behaviors such as obsessive swaying, bobbing, chewing, sucking, weaving, rocking, and licking are common in circus animals, and are manifestations of their extreme stress and boredom.
Abusive training techniques, lack of socialization and other stimuli, and constant confinement often causes animals to become so stressed that they become dangerous, lashing out at trainers and spectators. Deaths and injuries from such incidents are not uncommon.
In the wild, elephants don’t balance themselves on three legs atop a stool while twirling hula-hoops around their trunks and legs.
That’s for our entertainment.
Surely you do not support this abusive treatment of animals. Surely this is not what you want your children to learn. And surely this is not worth spending your money on to support.
(Name, title and address of recipient)
Dear (full name and title of recipient),
I would like to bring to your attention to the plight of circus animals forced to perform in (insert name of your community) and request that you enact a ban of animal acts in entertainment as soon as possible.
Animals used in circuses endure appalling conditions for the duration of their lives. Training methods used on these wild and exotic animals include beating, electric shock, food and water deprivation, and chaining. Performing animals travel for up to 50 weeks of the year, often in unheated and unventilated trucks. Denied social interaction, exercise, and freedom, these majestic animals endure tremendous suffering in the name of frivolous entertainment.
As a result, circus animals can pose a serious threat to public safety. These wild animals often rebel from the miserable conditions under which they are forced to live, and in the past ten years alone, over 220 people have been killed or seriously injured by rampaging elephants in circuses and zoos.
There are many ways for us to teach our children about wild animals. Removing elephants, tigers and bears etc. from their natural environment and forcing them to perform unnatural, often painful, tricks while in captivity is not one of them.
I appreciate your consideration of this important issue. For the sake of the animals, and the safety of your constituents, I sincerely hope that you will choose to ban animal acts in entertainment in ( insert name of your community).
Please let me know what you plan to do about this important issue.
(Your name, address and phone #)