Here in the United States, circuses are almost synonymous with wild animal performances. When you hear the word circus, the images that came to mind are probably the sight of a lion jumping through fire, an elephant standing on its hind legs, or a monkey riding a bicycle. These all may seem like acts of incredible talent and entertainment, but the truth is, circus animals suffer a lifetime of abuse, confinements, and extreme mental stress, in order to be trained to perform in such acts. Recognizing the dark side to these animal acts, several countries have banned live animals from circus performances including Peru, Bolivia, Greece, Netherlands, Columbia, Slovenia, Paraguay, Cyprus … and now Iran!

Iran’s Department of Environment announced it will not issue permits allowing the use of wildlife in circuses, effectively banning wild animal acts in all 31 states. The measure follows the successful “No to Circus!” campaign launched by Animal Rights Watch in September 2014 and supported by Animal Defenders International, including 6,000 supporters who called for action. The initiative has led to 13 circuses ending their use of such acts in just four months.

By banning the use of wild animals in the circus, the people of Iran are taking a united stand against animal cruelty and it makes us wonder why the United States can’t follow along. Public pressure has been mounting for years for circuses to end their animal acts, which has more than six major cities, including  Los Angeles to ban such performances. Even staunch defenders of animal acts such as Ringling Bros., announced it will retire its elephant acts in May 2016. However, as long as people continue to support these acts, animals will remain in these brutal conditions. The best way to end wild animal acts is to avoid buying a ticket.

Image source: Alex Kravastev/Flickr