How many of you, with a show of hands, have been to a circus? If not, have you at least seen clips or examples from movies or on television? From the look of those animals you wouldn’t exactly think that they are abused or mistreated. Here is a clip that will show you otherwise. (Show video from www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com) These animals are beaten, shocked, and even starved for the sake of entertainment.
Persuasive Claim: Today I am here to persuade you that the abuse to animals in circuses is wrong and that there should be strict laws that prevent this abuse.
In my presentation I am going to convince you why these strict laws should be put in place. I will first talk to you about Elephants and how between poachers and circuses, they are going extinct. Then I will show you the truth on how these circus animals are trained and treated.
I feel that I am credible speaking to you about this topic because I have done extensive research on elephants and circus animals. Also, I’m credible because I am an advocate against the mistreatment of animals.
Transition: Now, let me talk to you about the effects of mistreated elephants. Need
II. Elephants are severely endangered animals.
a. According to the New York Times, “Recent estimates suggest that as many as 3,000 elephants were killed by poachers in 2011.” And according to my survey, 100% of the people surveyed know that elephants are endangered. (Refer to Graph) If we all know that elephants are on the verge of going extinct then what is being done to change this? People for the ethical treatment of animals, or PETA is taking strides and running campaigns to raise awareness of the severity of this issue. According to the PETA website, “Some people mistakenly believe that captive breeding will help prevent elephants from becoming extinct, but elephants who are born in the breeding centers of circuses and zoos can never be returned to the wild.” A major concern of PETA is circus abuse to these animals as well as poachers killing them in the wild. These circuses take elephants from their natural habitat and abuse them from the moment they are born. Because they are denying them of their natural behavior, the elephants will never be able to survive in the wild on their own.
According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park website, “populations have decreased by 70 percent because of human-elephant conflict and habitat loss. Today, very few areas exist that can support elephant populations long-term. Without help, this remaining habitat—along with the homes of many other animals that share the elephants’ space—may disappear within 20 years.” b. (Refer to Graph) 92% of people surveyed did not know the methods used to train circus animals. If it wasn’t enough that elephants are already endangered, the circus training the living ones are put through is extremely brutal. The Ringling Brothers are the worst of the worst. PETA is an advocate for the safety of these animals and even went to the extreme of making a website titled, Ringlingbeatsanimals.com.
On this website there are pictures and videos as proof of this animal abuse. According to an article on the PETA website they stated, “In recent meetings, we presented unequivocal evidence of animal abuse, including beatings, the death of a lion, lame elephants forced to perform despite chronic pain, and a baby elephant who died during a training routine.” These animals are put through so much scrutiny and abuse during the training process that they often are hostile. The ringlingbeatsanimals website is where I got these pictures. The baby elephants are taken from their mom’s and forced to go into training at 18 months old. This training involves bounding all of their legs with ropes and chains, poking them with bullhooks and shocking them with electric prods. These babies are forced to learn “tricks” that are usually unnatural to them like rearing up, doing head stands, and sitting on stools. (Refer to pictures during explanation)
According to the book titled New American Circus, “U.S. circuses are waiting for somebody to tell them what they have to do—probably because in the circus, unlike horseracing, the people who own the animals are not in it for sport. This is their livelihood and they have much more to lose.” These circuses may have the danger of losing their business, but they way they train their animals is inexcusable. There was an article according to the Atlanta News that described a case PETA brought up concerning the Ringling Brothers repeatedly beating a tiger, the article stated that, “an unidentified whistleblower watches as ‘trainers repeatedly and violently whipped the tiger until the animal collapsed on the floor and lost control of his bowels” Unfortunately the Ringling Brothers company is denying the entire story. These animals are put through such pain just for the sake of the show. Transition: There are many actions being taken to stop this animal abuse and I also have a solution to this issue.
III. PETA’s fight against animal cruelty and against the Ringling Brothers is working, but I feel that it is necessary to enforce the Animal Welfare Act more than it is now. The Animal Welfare Act was put in place to protect animals rights and usually if someone was to violate it they would get fined $1000 or a year in prison. Obviously this is not being enforced for the circus performing animals. a. The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is creating a campaign, and according to their website, “To protect the future of Asian elephants, the National Zoo has launched Elephant trails: A Campaign to Save Asian Elephants.
This comprehensive breeding, education, and scientific research program is designed to help scientists care for elephants in zoos and save them in the wild.” This campaign will support the well being of the elephants, and will help potentially stop the endangerment of them. b. Another solution PETA is offering to its advocates is to not attend circuses involving animals. California and South Carolina have already passed laws banning the use of animals for entertainment purposes. PETA is encouraging people to go to circuses such as Cirque Del Soleil. c. Helping to support these campaigns will help to save these mistreated circus animals. Transition: Here is something to think about.
a. If we are to do nothing about the abuse of these animals Dumbo, the Disney character we all know and love will be gone. Growing up elephants were associated with Dumbo, Lions with Simba from the lion king, and Tigers with Shercon from the jungle book. Because of the danger of extinction there is a chance that our future children will not know first hand the animal associated with Dumbo. b. If we are to take a stand and help protect these animals, through the efforts there will hopefully be a Dumbo in the future. And the animals will be either treated better, or not forced to perform at all. Transition: There is something that we as a society can do to help with this issue so that these animals will not be in danger anymore.
V. We can take matters into our own hands and stop attending these performances involving animals. Like I said before, Cirque Du Soleil involves performances with people and not animals. By taking this step to not attend it will help push the circuses out of business and ultimately save the animals.
I have just shared with you a video showing the abuse the Ringling Brothers puts their animals through, the need for a solution to this animal mistreatment. I have shown the solution to this issue which included the Animal Welfare Act and Cirque Du Soleil. I have also given you the visualization of what the future would be like without elephants and what we can do to take action against this problem as a society.
A quote from PETA, “Bears, elephants, tigers, and other animals do not voluntarily ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire. They don’t perform these and other difficult tricks because they want to; they perform them because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t.” I hope that I have convinced you that there is a need to stop this animal abuse before it is too late for them. Thank you.
Albrecht, E. J. (1995). New American Circus. Florida: University Press of Florida. BOOK Beverage, E. E. (2010). Abuse Under the Big Top: Seeking Legal Protection for Circus Elephants after ASPCA v. Ringling Brothers. Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law . ACADEMIC JOURNAL Christian Boone, L. H. (2010, March 3). Ringling Bros: Tiger beating a fabrication. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from Atlanta News: http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/ringling-bros-tiger-beating-342513.html NEWSPAPER Elephant Trails: A Campaign to Save Asian Elephants. (n.d.). Retrieved February 29, 2012, from Smithsonian National Zoological Park: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/AsianElephants/ElephantTrails/default.cfm Nelson, D. (2011, December). The Cruelest Show on Earth. Mother Jones . MAGAZINE PETA. (2010). Circuses. Retrieved February 29, 2012, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/circuses.aspx INTERNET PETA. (2011). Circuses: Three Rings of Abuse. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: http://www.peta.org/issues/Animals-in-Entertainment/circuses-three-rings-of-abuse.aspx PETA. (2010). Elephants: Broken Spirits. Retrieved February 29, 2012, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: http://www.peta.org/issues/Animals-In-Entertainment/elephants-broken-spirits.aspx PETA. (2011, November 28). The PETA Files. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from PETA: http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2011/11/28/ringling-slapped-with-largest-penalty-in-circus-history.aspx Press, T. A. (2011, December 29). Deadliest Year on Record for Elephants. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/africa/deadliest-year-on-record-for-elephants.html?ref=elephants NEWSPAPER The Saddest Show on Earth. (n.d.). Retrieved February 29, 2012, from Ringling Beats Animals: http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com/default.asp