Together We Can Stop Circus Animal Abuse

Ian Somerhalder Foundation

My name is Sarah Richards and as part of the ISF Family I feel that it is very important to help inform everyone about Circus Animal Abuse. When watching a circus performance, one would never think that these animals are mistreated, but they are. Tigers, elephants, dogs, horses, and lions do not willingly do handstands, jump through hoops, or stand on their heads. These animals are forced to do tricks and live in horrible conditions so the Circus can make money from them. 


• Training: Circus animals go through long training processes and are punished when they do not do what they are told. These circus animals are stabbed or electrocuted when they disobey. In many circuses, including the Ringling Brothers, elephants are taken from their parents too early and are hit with sharp hooks until they perform the tricks; sometimes this involves the elephant being beaten until their skin is left open and bloody.


• Living Conditions: These animals are forced to eat, sleep, and use the bathroom in small, cramped boxes. When on the road, water is limited and the animals are fed food that they would not actually eat in the wild. This often leads to disease and, since no adequate veterinarian travels with the circus crew, these animals remain sick. Finally, in order to keep large animals from moving in their small living spaces, they are tied down with a rope. This rope constantly rubs against the elephant’s leg and results in a bad burn that none of the circus workers care about. Then, when an animal gets too old to perform, they are either sold to animal testing labs or hunting arenas.


What can you do to prevent this?
DO NOT visit any circuses that use animals. Many circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil, do not use animals for their acts. You can also get out the word about what these animals have to deal with. Animals have no voice, so it is up to us to protect them.  Click here to see where I found all my information.

There are also some great ideas about additional ways to help end this horrible abuse and more circuses that do not use animals in their shows. Click here to see these awesome tips.

We know this abuse is a global issue and we are not alone in our fight to prevent it. Click here to see a group of school kids who voiced their concerns and plan to make a difference.

Stopping this abuse can be done and is already being accomplished!  China has recently banned the use of animals in their circuses.  Click here to read more about their success.  Now, we must also keep in mind that once a circus is no longer able to use animals, we must be part of the plan to find them caring and appropriate homes.  We need to help spread the word on these much needed sanctuaries, and to acknowledge those wonderful people who are taking on this incredible job. 

There is one such amazing place in Colorado that is taking care of these precious animals.  Watch this video to see some of the beautiful animals they have helped rescue and their remarkable story.


Let's use our voices and help spread the word to help all of these animals! They need us.