Undercover footage of a circus elephant being beaten by handlers for no reason has played a role in the recent commitment in Britain to ban wild animals from circuses. The elephant is named Anne; it has been reported that due to the scandal, she will be released from the circus and relocated to an animal sanctuary.
When the abuse footage hit the Internet and was available for millions to see the terrible treatment of the poor elephant, a predictable response from the circus was that it was merely a rogue employee behaving badly; this did little to quell the furor. In fact, if you can stomach a viewing, you can see aggression such as kicking directed at other animals within the camera’s view. It appears any animal within range of the camera was probably subjected to some degree of abuse.
Circuses exploiting animals to make money–and abusing them with beatings, chaining them for twenty-four hours a day, and keeping them in cramped cages–is behavior that will no longer be legally allowed in Britain. Anne the elephant is 57 years old, and one can easily imagine many of those years were too full of abuse, neglect and stress from the circus. There won’t be any law suits to demand justice and compensation for all the animals that have been abused and killed over the previous decades of circus operations.
British officials are working with Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, to finish details of the policy related to the legislation so that there won’t be any conflicts. An announcement from her is expected within weeks about the new ban. A public survey last year revealed 94 percent of 10,000 people favored a ban on animals in circuses. Previous legislation regarding wild animals did not cover those used in circuses, and their animal welfare provisions were not effective.
In Bolivia the same ban has been implemented,and has been supported with a donation of two million dollars by Bob Barker. His very genorous contribution actually went to Animal Defenders International who helped relocate 25 former circus lions from Bolivia to an animal sanctuary in Colorado.
Another sad fact about circus animals is that there are typically no, or very inadequate, provisions for their post-circus life. Once they are too old or become disobedient they are simply abandoned. You can do your part for circus animals by boycotting ones that still use them.
Image Credit: Public Domain