The circus can seem like nothing but a good time if you’re sitting in the audience. As a viewer, all you see is a perfectly orchestrated performance featuring animals doing amazing tricks – it’s pretty easy to get swept up in the show. But if you take a look behind the scenes at these performances, things aren’t quite so magical.

The video above shows what needs to happen in order to make those incredible circus performances possible … a whole lot of abuse and cruelty. The footage comes from a PETA Asia investigator visited 10 different circuses and animal training facilities in the city of Suzhou, China, which encompasses more than 300 circuses. In addition to witnessing animals being beaten into submission and forced to perform tricks such as jumping through hoops and balancing on oversized balls, the investigators witnessed moon bear cubs being “taught” to stand on their hind legs by way of chain-link “nooses” that force the cubs to remain upright.

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The PETA website explains that forcing bears to stand for prolonged periods of time on their hind legs can cause lifelong physical problems. Jin Yipeng, deputy professor of veterinary medicine at China Agricultural University, told PETA, “Over the long term that causes permanent joint damage or even necrosis and paralysis. … [T]he animals often acquire these problems in their youth, meaning they suffer for the rest of their lives.”

Sadly, as the video explains, these training methods are hardly exclusive to China, but can be seen in circuses across the world – including the U.S. 

If you believe that animals deserve better than this sorry existence, share this video and boycott all venues that put animals on display for entertainment. Once we stop paying for animal abuse, it will stop.

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