Have you ever stopped to consider the life of a circus animal? They are forced to spend time in cramped and totally unsuitable housing as they are transported around the country and they are expected to perform for the entertainment of patrons.
The RSPCA believes that this is wrong.
The RSPCA supports the five freedoms and believes all animals should be able to express their natural behaviours. If animals are kept in captivity they need to be offered enough space, enrichment, cognitive stimulation and sufficient opportunities to express these behaviours. Being able to express natural behaviours helps with their mental health and reduces stress.
Large animals such as lions need space to be able to move around and to socialise with their own kind. They enjoy having a perch such as a grassy knoll or rock from which to view their environment. Monkeys normally like to climb and live in trees, and socialise in large groups. Life in a circus is not conducive to these needs. In circuses lions are expected to live in their transport wagon or attached fenced-off area which offers limited or no environmental enrichment. Likewise, monkeys are offered little in the way of mental stimulation. Cubs born to circus lions are usually removed from their mothers at an early age and hand reared so they are more easily trained when they get older.
Although loved by their circus owners, wild animals such as lions and monkeys retain the instincts and needs of their wild antecedents. Even after generations of breeding in captivity, they are not domesticated animals. Life in a circus causes stress in these non-domesticated animals. Sometimes the signs of stress can be subtle but they are there.
The RSPCA is opposed to the use of non-domesticated animals in circuses. There is no justification for the use of such animals in circuses, as there are no education, research or conservation benefits. The RSPCA advocates that the use of such animals be phased out and the animals moved to open range zoos where their needs will be more easily met.
For more information check out RSPCA Australia's Knowledge Base - views on the use of animals in circuses