Mexico’s Saying Adios to Circus Animals: Why Won’t the U.S. Do the Same?

Great news! Culiacán is the latest municipality to say no to live animals for human entertainment in circuses. While this seems to be a global trend, the United States is still torn.

Mexican Municipalities Say Adios to Circus Animals

¡Sí se pudo! Mexico’s Culiacán is the latest global municipality to say no to using live animals in circuses. As reported in PETA Latino, Culiacán’s mayor insists that “‘[the] best circuses in the world do not offer animal shows.’”

Telenovela megastar, Kate del Castillo, who played Culiacán’s fictional reina in La Reina Del Sur telenovela, is helping to promote awareness. In a PETA exclusive, del Castillo explained that even though she grew up loving the circus, it broke her heart to learn about the torture that the “elephants, tigers and amazing animals” had to suffer to do the tricks.

Culiacán follows Mexico City, Querétaro and Naucalpan.

Mexico isn’t the only country willing to take a stand against using live animals in circuses. As reported in PETA Latino, Austria, Bolivia, Colombia, Greece, Paraguay and Peru have already began to ban the use of circus animals. Meanwhile, England and India are still pending.

Banning Isnt Enough

Banning the use of animals in circuses is an admirable first step, but enforcing the ban isn’t always straightforward.

As reported in Jakarta Globe, despite an Indonesian ban on using dolphins in circuses, “Dolphins are still being held captive in traveling circuses, forced to perform and treated inhumanely.” Despite being an illegal practice, not much is being done to stop the illicit transactions between the traders and circus owners.

The captive dolphins are “forced to perform in front of crowds multiple times aday, doing tricks like jumping through rings of fire. They are often under-fed and treated without necessary care and kept in unsuitable chlorinated pools.”

Despite having legal protection, the captive dolphins from Indonesia are in the same predicament as dolphins caught from the Taiji hunts. The Indonesian dolphins will probably be like Angel, the rare albino bottlenose dolphin that was caught in Taiji, who is stuck in a tank doing “repetitive circus tricks over and over for a reward of dead fish.”

What About the United States?

It’s interesting to note that while many parts of the globe are taking a stand against exploiting animals in circuses, the U.S. is relatively absent in the global discussion.

According to NY Daily News, NYCLASS, an animal rights group that’s been the driving force behind ending New York’s horse-drawn carriages, is targeting circuses — namely, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus — next. Allie Feldman, NYCLASS’s executive director, explains: “‘Animals in the circus are horribly abused. Animals in nature don’t naturally wear tutus and stand on their hind legs. To get an elephant to do that, you have to basically beat the animal into submission.’”

In response to criticism like NYCLASS’s, Stephen Payne, vice-president for corporate communications for Feld Entertainment (the  Ringling Bros. parent company), responded in a NY Daily News opinion piece. According to Payne, circus elephants should definitely not be freed because without circuses conservation efforts would be compromised. As Payne explains, “A portion of every ticket to a circus performance goes to these conservation programs, so our fans are not only seeing an amazing show with their families but helping to save an endangered species.”

For Payne, circuses are “a time-honored tradition of safe, affordable family entertainment,” and elephants are lucky to have them. But if you feel that we owe elephants (and other circus animals) an apology, then there’s more that you can do to make it up to them.

Don’t buy a ticket.

Take Action!

If you don’t think circuses are a time-honored traditional form of entertainment, then tell companies, like Goldstar, not to sponsor their events. Please sign and share this petition to stop the sponsoring of animal cruelty.

Photo Credit: Sam Pullara


Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Mark Donner
Mark Donner4 years ago

Canada and the US are in the dark ages, have the animal torturing, polluted wasteland of Communist China as their role model.

Sunrita B.
Sunrita B5 years ago

While gushing forth on family entertainment and conservation, Stephen Payne should elaborate on all the cruel ways that go into training a baby elephant to perform tricks, how elephants are chained and prodded with bullhooks, how they spent their lives in trailers and often isolated from their own kind.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado5 years ago

People in the circus are cruel to animals.

chris lock
chris lock5 years ago

Seems hard to believe that a country like Mexico has banned the use of animals in their circuses when the USA still continues. Congratulations to Mexico!

Rhonda Bird
Rhonda B5 years ago

Thank you Mexico!

Lynn C.
Past Member 5 years ago

This is good....this is VERY good!

BJ J5 years ago

It's a start. Come on, U.S., get in on a good act for a change!

Geoff P.
Geoff P5 years ago