For immediate release
With another circus making an appearance in our community this weekend, the Ottawa Humane Society reminds the public about the inherent physical and psychological harm done to performing animals and the potential danger of circus acts.
"It's incredibly distressing to see circuses finding an audience in our community," says Bruce Roney, OHS Executive Director. "These animals are meant to be entertaining, but in reality, there is nothing joyful or happy about their lives as performers."
The biggest issue for circus attendees to remember is that circuses feature wild or exotic animals who are not allowed to behave as they would in the wild, says Roney.
"What is natural about an elephant travelling by truck or train, being chained at the foot for hours, or contained by electric fencing?" asks Roney. "These wild animal acts need to be banned."
Elephants are extremely social beings and live in large groups, forming highly-developed relationships with other elephants. In a circus, that social group is replaced with a mixture of other animals and human performers — an inadequate substitute, according to Roney.
Inspectors from the OHS visited the circus site yesterday to check on the condition of the animals — two Asian elephants, seven horses and nine performing dogs — and to ensure minimum standards of care are met while the circus is in operation.
For those interested in attending a cruelty-free circus performance, the OHS encourages families to support performances that do not include animals as part of the entertainment.
The OHS also reminds the public that there is a misunderstood safety risk associated with circuses. "These are wild animals and they remain wild animals despite their ability to perform," Roney says. "We can't forget that there are documented cases of circus animals that have injured and even killed spectators and handlers."
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