While awareness surrounding the cruelty elephants suffer in circus environments has spread dramatically, there are still people out there that still don’t “get it.” They don’t understand that these animals are often torn from their mothers and families to perform. They are routinely beaten and scared into learning routines. They are confined to tiny enclosures and denied any form of natural existence. For those that still need convincing, a new video from Animal Defenders International showing a captive elephant at Garden Brothers Circus in Pennsylvania displaying troubling signs of discomfort has surfaced.
At first glance, you may not understand how disturbing the video actually is. Very few people realize that constant, mindless rocking back and forth is actually a sign of zoochosis. The term “zoochosis” was coined in 1992 by Bill Travers to characterize the obsessive, repetitive behaviors exhibited by animals kept in captivity. Some of the abnormal behaviors that have been documented associated with this deep form of mental distress include self-mutilation, vomiting, excessive grooming, coprophagia (consuming excrement), random biting, twisting or nodding of the neck and head, and yes, weaving back and forth.
As this heartbreaking video shows, more goes on at these shows than what the audience realizes. The best way you can stand up for circus animals is to never buy a ticket. Once people stop paying for it, cruelty can finally stop.
To take action and support TEAPSPA, a federal bill to prohibit traveling wild and exotic animal acts, click here.
To learn more about wild animals in circuses, explore the following links:
- 5 Ways You Can Help End the Use of Animals in Circuses
- Zoochosis and the Many Ways We Have Failed Zoo Animals
- Zoochosis: What Really Happens To Animals In Captivity