While animal circuses may seem harmless at first glance – after all, what could be cuter than watching animals perform unusual tricks? – the reality is vastly different. While circus companies claim to care about the well-being of their animals, what animals endure to learn their tricks is not natural or healthy for the animals.
Animals kept in captivity commonly exhibit certain behaviors rarely if ever witness in their free-living brethren – behaviors like moving side-to-side, head-wobbling, and self-mutilation, all of which may point to their own mental distress. Circus companies have additionally been known to neglect or abuse their animals as part of the training process.