The use of animals in travelling circuses

The use of any animal species (including birds, reptiles, and domesticated species) in any entertainment, travelling or otherwise, should be submitted to scientific and ethological consideration.

The use of wild mammals, especially elephants, big cats (lions and tigers) in travelling circuses1 reflects a traditional, but outdated, view of wild animals. These animals have the same genetic makeup as their counterparts in the wild and retain their natural instinctive behavioural drives and needs. The needs of non-domesticated, wild mammals cannot be met within a travelling circus; especially in terms of housing and being able to express normal behaviours.

There is little or no educational, conservational, research or economic benefit derived from the use of wild mammals in travelling circuses that might justify their use. In addition to the welfare considerations, the use of wild mammals in circuses can represent serious animal health and public health and safety risks23 . These wild mammals can cause physical injury to the public and their keepers and zoonotic disease transmission4 . Public polls5 show that an overwhelming majority of the public backs a ban on wild animals performing in circuses.