Two lions attacked their trainer during a circus performance in the Ukraine earlier this month.
An American family visiting the town of Lviv got footage of the attack. In the video, which was released on the internet, one lion attacks first, biting the trainer on his leg before a second lion joins in and bites him on the arm.
The trainer and other circus workers try to repel the lions, first with metal poles and eventually with water cannons. The workers were able to keep the lions at bay and the trainer escaped the enclosure. He made it to the hospital for emergency surgery and is in stable condition.
No word yet on the fate of the lions. It’s hard to say whether they have become more dangerous than they are valuable to the circus. Circuses treat animals like property, so there’s likely a cost/benefit analysis protocol for these kinds of situations.
In the video you can see and hear people in the crowd panicking and fleeing. Circus patrons are used to benefitting from violence and cruelty, but seem shocked and appalled when they must witness violence happen. They enjoy watching abused and frightened animals do tricks, but witnessing one of the natural conclusions of animal abuse traumatizes them.
The man who filmed the video said his son doesn’t want to go to the circus “ever again”. Hopefully the family sticks together in that decision, and hopefully when he grows up, the boy will be able to put the scary incident from his childhood into context.
It’s fair to assume that circuses around the globe are not necessarily all like the ones in the US, some might employ less violent tactics in training their animals while others very likely employ more. But some things are certain: zoo animals are confined, transported and routinely neglected. Animals must have their spirits broken through violence before they will perform unnatural tricks and stunts for human entertainment.
The violent outburst by those lions wasn’t an aberration, it was the natural reaction from two wild animals.
I don’t wish violence on anyone, but I also lack sympathy for a person whose job it is to abuse wild animals when the animals return the favor. The trainer makes the decision to accept the physical risk and gets paid to do it. The lions get nothing for their trouble but the privilege of growing old in a cage.
Every incidence of violence of a supposedly “tame” circus or zoo animal provides an opportunity for us to examine the ethical nature of using animals for our amusement. If only every other person who heard about or saw this incident had the same reaction as the cameraman’s son: “I don’t want to go to the circus ever again”.
Animals do not exist for our entertainment anymore than they exist for our consumption. Go vegan, boycott circuses, zoos, and all other industries that profit from animal exploitation.
Care2 TAKE ACTION: Tell Ringling Bros. to stop abusing elephants!
Photo: insane photoholic