Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Stop Circus Suffering USA: Circus Animal Control Methods

Posted: 14 January 2014. Updated: 14 January 2014

One of the great circus myths is that circus animals are trained by kindness and reward, also known as positive reinforcement. Our studies of the training of animals in circuses over the past 15 years have shown that the tools of the trade are whips, goads, iron bars, elephant hooks and electric shock devices.
The actual training takes place in secret. The ‘training sessions’ presented to public and media when on the road, are in fact just rehearsals, when the animals are simply being put through well-worn paces.
Circus animals are shown during these rehearsals, that if they disobey the trainer, they will be punished. Even huge, powerful animals can be beaten into submission.
Young animals, so inquisitive and playful, will grow old in the same barren cages, and they will learn from an early age, that disobedience will not be tolerated. It is a lesson that will be repeated throughout their lives.
The elephant hook or ankus is common to the traveling circus around the globe.

A: Elephant hook, Hanneford Family Circus.

B: Elephant hook, Circus World.

C: Use of elephant hook on Swain elephants at Bailey Brothers Circus.

D: A golf club his used to hit a Swain elephant in the leg at Bailey Brothers Circus.

E: An electric shock device (circled) was used on the Swain elephants during a ‘training session’ at Bailey Brothers Circus. .

F: The type of device used to deliver electric shocks.

G: A reptile’s mouth has been taped shut in order to be used for photographs Sterling & Reid Circus.

H: A three-month old white tiger cub was shouted at and hit in the face when he did not “behave”. Sterling & Reid Circus, Fredericksburg.

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