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Animal ethics, circuses and traveling shows

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Most people love to go to the circus. The acts keep the audience in wonder and the animals entertain. Circuses and traveling shows have many trained animals in their company.

Though fascinated by the various animals acts people do not realize what the life of a circus or traveling show animal entails. They are kept in a confined space, the training methods of these animals are harsh and they are not properly socialized. The stress that is put on these animals makes them dangerous to the public.

Circus animals such as elephants and big cats are migratory roaming hundreds of miles in the wild. These animals are kept caged or linked by chains around their legs to posts for extended periods of time. The lions and tigers are only released into a larger cage for training and performing as are elephants.

Training is quick and cruel. The use of the whip on the big cats is a normal method to get them to obey. The elephants are controlled by prodding sticks. Zebras, dogs and other animals are beaten to submission. Many times animals are not fed or given water or have access to either.

The animals are separated from their social groups and subject to long periods of travel. This not only causes stress but leads to physiological disorders. It is not unusual to see elephants bobbing their heads or constantly shifting their weight this is not normal behavior nor is the big cats pacing their cages.

Under such conditions these animals are dangerous to their keepers, trainers and the public. It is not uncommon for them to escape and attack. This results in major property damage and sometimes death not only to the animal but to people as well.

There are no government agencies set up to oversee this industry as yet. So these animals are at the mercy of their owners. Milwaukeeans are encouraged to contact their congressmen to activate a commission for this purpose.

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