In the last coupe of weeks, we’ve shared some of our May/June students’ best work from The Globe, our student newsletter. You’ve already read short essays from levels 1, 2, and 3, plus a level 4 essay on the importance of passion in life. Today we’re sharing an argument essay on circus animals from Silvia, a Venezuelan student from last term’s writing 5 class.

Everyday in America or any country of the world, a circus come to town. The advertisements promise safe, family fun, colorful costumes, and exotic animals performing tricks at the snap of their trainer’s fingers; lions jumping through burning hoops, elephants balancing on their hind legs, and bears riding bicycles. But what happens backstage is what many of the viewers doesn’t know or didn’t care. They can’t see the suffering of the animals that learned all those tricks in a very sad way.

I strongly believe that circus must have entertainment without animals, or if they are going to have it, the animals should be treated in the right way. Furthermore I also believe that we should not use animal labor in circuses because they need to be in their natural ambiance, not locked in a jail just waiting for the moment of the show.

Until now many organizations for animals rights like PETA, have been speaking loud for those animals or any creature who had been suffering but without receiving any change. On the Internet people can see some video footage of how the animals are treated and honestly, I think it is not fair.

The use of animals for entertainment dates back thousand years. Even ancient civilizations were fascinated by exotic animals. Archaeological evidence shows that lions were kept in cages in Macedonia as far as back as 2000 B.C. Historians believe that wild animals were kept and shown off by rulers as a symbol of power and wealth. (Entertainment Animals History.

The Greeks were among the first to collect wild animals to learn about them. By contrast the Roman Empire focused on the wild nature of the animals. The emperors entertained themselves and the public by holding spectacles in which animals fought to the death with each other and with human gladiators. These events took place in circular arenas called circuses. Most acts of the time focused on the ferocity of the animals and the bravery of the trainer. Animals usually were beaten, starved, and occasionally had their teeth pulled to render them less dangerous. (Entertainment Animals History.

On the other hand, there are people and organizations that really care about this situation and they are fighting for it, doing some advertisements that really impact the viewers. Besides that they have some strong arguments to really support their reasons. (Entertainment Animals History.

Circus animals have the right to be protected and treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act. Tigers naturally fear fire, but they are still forced to jump trough fire hoops in some circuses and have been burned while doing so. Trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bull hooks and other painful

tools to force animals to perform. In more than thirty-five dangerous incidents since 2000, elephants have bolted from circuses, run amok trough streets, crashed into buildings, attacked members of the public, and killed and injured handlers. Eleven months a year they travel over long distances in box cars with no climate control; sleeping, eating and defecating in the same cage. During the off-season, animals used in circuses may be housed in small traveling crates. Such confinement has harmful psychological effects on them. ( States United for Biomedical Research. “Animal Welfare and Animal Rights”, Web accessed March 14, 2015).

Circus Myths:

  • Circus animals perform tricks out of love for their trainers.
  • After the show, the animals rest in comfort.
  • Laws protect animals in circuses.
  • The circus is safe for the whole family.
  • Circus animals are like beloved children, taught and nurtured their whole lives.
    (Humane Society of the United States. 2016. “The cruelty under the big top”.

Finally, I do believe that animals should no longer exist as part of the circus attraction. Animals used for entertainment have to endure unhealthy amounts of stress, ultimately putting the safety of the spectators and circus staff at risk. Furthermore, a decent circus should remain just as entertaining without employing animals. Circuses offer a multitude of delightful acts that focus on talented men and women earning a living doing what they love. Cirque du Soleil, one of the most successful circus acts, only employs willing human performers.

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