The ANIMAL-FREE CIRCUS campaign was established to draw public attention to the lives of innocent animals imprisoned for human entertainment. Its aim is the legal prohibition of using animals in circuses in Poland.
The campaign focuses also on educating children and youth, who are the target of circuses advertisement. We believe that young audience should be familiar with the true face of this unethical ‘entertainment’ and educated about the needs, feelings, intelligence and life of animals.
The campaign will succeed through collaboration and support of different organizations and individuals who want to help animals, which are doomed to a sad life in steel cages.
We invite you to join our campaign!
Few facts about animals in circus
1 Behind the scenes
Animals are not staying in circuses by choice – they work like slaves for the people who make money at the expense of their suffering. Wild animals, detached from the natural environment and their herds, are kept in cramped cages or tied with chains on small runways. Transport leads them to the constant stress. Some of them (like wild cats) spend most of their life in a small cage. Many animals e.g. elephants reveal stereotypical behaviour and other signs of mental illness. Primate species, highly intelligent and social animals, are kept in isolation and suffer from loneliness, what affects their physical health.
How to encourage a lion to jump through flaming hoops? Performing strange tricks is not in the nature of animals. They are forced through brutal methods of dressage and starvation. Cruel training of obedience begins when an animal is still young and easier to break. Trainers are forcing animals to unnatural behavior and servitude with hooks, electric batons and whips, risking their health and even their lives. These methods are often documented on secret recordings.
3 Off season
Circus season only lasts a few months. During rest of the time animals are kept in winter units, which often prove to have similar conditions and cage sizes as those used during transportation.
4 Lack of educational values
Ministry of Education in Poland identified persuading children to participate in the shows of circuses with animals as an undesirable activity. Accordingly it was recognized as inconsistent with the Children Rights Convention, which states that education shall be directed towards the development of respect for the environment. It is impossible to teach children valuable lesson from observing tigers spinning around in circles in a small space or bears dressed in a skirt and forced to stand on the front paws. Children observing a circus shows might have a false sense of conditions in which animals are kept, trained and make them unable to recognize their suffering.
5 For the children?
If children knew the truth about life of animals in circuses, most of them probably would not want to visit it. Kids usually love animals and this argument is used by parents who choose circus to show them a little of “captive wildlife”. However, in Poland and in Europe there are shelters and animal sanctuaries where you can see horses, ponies, sheep, goats, bears and monkeys rescued from circuses, zoos and private parks, who were previously condemned to tremendous suffering. By visiting these places kids can not only learn about animals but at the same time help them. A good idea might be a usual trip to the forest or national park, where they can observe animals in their natural environment.
6 Circus without animals
Circus art can be beautiful when it is created by artists who are trained by their own choice and like to demonstrate their skills. Juggling, walking a tightrope and acrobatics are spectacular and provide entertainment for the whole family. There are many circuses without animals in the world, such as the Baobab, Cirque du Soleil, Circus Hassani and The Blackpool Tower Circus. In Poland there is Avatar Theatre, which presents fire shows, dance, acrobatics and unicycle riding. In Szczecin you can watch Zodiac Circus, which in addition to performances also runs workshops for children and young people, combining fun with education.
The use of animals in circuses often leads to serious accidents, which are the inevitable consequences of keeping wild creatures in captivity. Lions or tigers are known to attack people during the training or shows. Usually it ends up with bites and wounds, but there are also cases of death. Sometimes animals escape and end up losing their lives if it’s difficult to capture them. Another danger is the phenomenon of zoonoses, infectious or parasitic diseases which are transmitted through direct contact or through the air and can be spread to humans.
8 Circuses in Poland
A lot of people think that circuses belong to history, or that this form of entertainment is on the decay. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of people who attend circus shows and don’t realize that they are supporting the business built on animals’ suffering. The Polish circuses keep among others: elephants, lions, tigers, camels, zebras, horses, reindeer, seals, snakes, monitor lizards, iguanas, dogs and bulls.
Finland, United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, Croatia, Israel, Peru, Singapore, the Netherlands, Hungary, Costa Rica, Slovenia are the countries where using wild animals in circuses is banned. In Greece, Bolivia, China and Brazil ban includes all, not just wild animals. In Denmark, Australia, USA, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and India partial restrictions on keeping animals in circus were introduced. Many cities in the world have introduced a local ban on using animals in circuses, despite of national law.
10 Animals fate in our hands
Since it was possible to ban the use of animals in other countries, there is no reason why we could not do the same in Poland. To achieve this, we need the support of every person who cares about the fate of animals. First of all, don’t go to the circus with animals and encourage your friends to do the same. Show them facts about training, transportation and shows. Protest when you notice that in school or supermarket discount tickets are distributed. Join the campaign ANIMAL-FREE CIRCUS!