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Olivia Bowman

Mrs. Frederick

Expository Writing 3

12 December 2016

Animals Used for Entertainment Encourages Abuse

Animals have always been used to entertain people. Wild or domesticated, they are found

in circuses, zoos, movies and everything in between. Entertainment animals are classified as ones

that perform or are put on public display (Evans). Their lives are used to bring joy to adults and

children all over the world, but at the price of their own. Using animals for entertainment

encourages abuse of them for the sake of performances, they are forced to live in abnormal

conditions, and all of this leads to them being disrespected.

Exploiting these animals means the only positive thing that people notice is the amazing

things they can do. Animals in entertainment bring in money to many companies. Bullfights are

supported for many reasons. It has been a tradition in Spain since the fifth century (Williams).

Others who support it believe that bullfighting is an art form and it is not about the killing

technique (Duara). Zoos, unlike circuses and bullfights, tend to be better for the animals that are

used in entertainment. After the animals spend so much time in captivity they cannot be returned

to the wild (Bromwich). Something has to be done with these animals, and that is where zoos

typically come into play. If these animals were released back into their natural environments,

they probably would not make it. The animals would have to do things like evade predators and

hunt, which require skills that they never learned in captivity. Some exotic animals can even live

a longer life in captivity then they would have lived in the wild. Some species could become
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extinct if captivity did not preserve them. Keeping them in captivity means many animals receive

the proper care they deserve, and live out longer and healthier lives (Evans).

Animals in entertainment are harmed in order to have good performances. They have to

be trained somehow and those methods can become harmful (Evans). These animals are beaten

and killed to provide amazing actions that stun audiences. Circuses, horseraces, and bullfights

are among the worst reasons for the most gruesome treatment. People love to watch the animals

spin, jump through hoops, and do amazing things that no one would expect of them, all because

of circuses. However, training animals to perform at this caliber almost always involves abuse.

Bullhooks, clubs, whips, chains, as well as food and water deprivation are used in order for

trainers to keep control of the animals. Over the years, eleven Ringling Bros. elephants died due

to the abusive things that had happened to them, including when they had performed badly

(Merritt). Circus animals are punished when they do not obey, and forced to go out on stage even

if they are ill (Mettler). Bullfights and horse races also force animals into performing. Horses

begin training for these races long before their skeletons are even developed and strong enough

to handle the hard race tracks. This causes injuries that can be hard to identify, and the horses

continue racing. Some owners decide to give drugs to their horses in order to make them run

even with the problems they have, which causes more injuries that are harder to fix

(Preface). Bullfights are a different story because, unlike circuses and horse races, the abuse

is put out for everyone to see. Bullfighters provoke the bulls in order to get the bulls to chase

them. Matadors and rejoneadors lance the bulls repeatedly to make them weak, as the crowd

goes wild. They do not stop until the bull gives in and surrenders to the bullfighter, then the bull

is killed (Duara). The Humane Society International approximates that over 250,000 bulls are

killed every single year due to bullfights (Williams). However, any animals in circuses, horse
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races, bullfights, or other venues, that are not killed by entertainment, spend the rest of their days

in situations that are not much better. It is true that some animals get lucky and end up in special

sanctuaries, but usually, that is not the case (Merritt). Most of these animals are sold to hunting

ranches, zoos, auctioned off to animal collectors, or are killed. Those that are kept in captivity

cannot return to the wild. There would be the chance of disease and it could be hard for some to

hunt due to injuries (Bromwich). Horses that no longer race, end up at slaughterhouses and their

meat is then exported (Preface). It is easy to see what all these animals are forced to deal

with, and it is all for the performance and entertaining humans, not the animals.

For years, animals have been kept in captivity and have been living in abnormal

conditions. These animals are kept in cages, separated from the environment they were created to

live in. This causes the animal to be lonely and bored. They are also unable to reproduce

normally or naturally (Donaldson and Kymlicka). Circus housing is not all that great either, they

are forced to live in claustrophobic, filthy areas causing them to have minimal space and room to

stretch out. There is not a lot of veterinary care for when these animals get ill which causes

death. The animals are even exposed to high temperatures, kept in chains, and have no choice but

to stand in their own waste (Merritt). Babies are separated from their mothers, other are beaten

for doing activities that they are naturally made to do (Mettler). Circus animals have teeth and

claws removed so that they will not harm the humans that work with them. In nature, animals

and people do not have to share space. How is that remotely normal to these beautiful and

amazing animals (Bromwich)? When these animals are born in captivity, it would cause a lot of

issues if they were to return to the wild (Milian). They might not be able to take care of

themselves. These animals are fed by humans, interact with humans, and they do not know about

other creatures since they are kept away from animals that they would naturally encounter
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(Martin). The animals living conditions are more about what humans think about, not how the

animals live (Donaldson and Kymlicka). These poor, helpless creatures should have the right to

live in the wild, away from people, and not forced to do things that are unnatural to them


Animals are disrespected for many reasons. At a zoo in London, chimpanzees were

introduced to tea. Instead of making a mess, like expected, they did the same thing a human

would do. They were then retrained to make a mess so people would laugh and make them feel

like humans are the superior civilization. Doing this caused animals to be degraded in the minds

of many people (Donaldson and Kymlicka). Bullfights also cause animals to be disrespected.

They are killed in front of a live audience and people have fun at the cost of another living thing

(Williams). Children are also taught that animals do not have rights to freedom, to privacy, or to

live their own lives, lessons that often lead to disrespectful thoughts. Zoos do not teach about

animal behaviors or their natural habitats. They show that humans are superior to everything.

Society eats and exploits animals. Zoo cages and enclosures show children that there is a clear

divide between animals and man, so they grow up thinking animals belong behind glass. This

again shows how they have no rights (Donaldson and Kymlicka). Thankfully, many things are

being done to help prevent disrespect and abuse to animals in entertainment. Many countries

have full or partial bans against circuses (Botkin-Kowacki). America has few such bans to

circuses. However, many U.S. cities have banned the use of bullhooks and other things on

animals (Mettler). Many lawmakers are trying to encourage circuses to no longer use animals at

all, a solution that would resolve many of the conflicts expressed here (Merritt).

It is easy to see how abuse is encouraged through the harm shown to these animals. They

are abused, the environments are horrible and that they have no choice but to live in them, and no
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one understands or respects these amazing animals. Even though some things are being done, it

is not enough. More needs to be done to stop this abuse. No more animals should die or be

injured for entertainment.

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Works Cited

Botkin-Kowacki, Eva. Dublin Bans Animal Acts from Circuses. Part of a Broader Shift?

Christian Science Monitor, 02 Aug. 2016. SIRS Issue Researcher,

Bromwich, Jonah. 33 Circus Lions to be Flown to African Paradise. New York Times, 29

Apr. 2016, A.7. SIRS Issue Researcher,

Donaldson, Sue, and Will Kymlicka. What Zoos, Circuses Really Teach Children. Globe and

mail, 06 May 2016, A. 11. SIRS Issues Researcher,

Duara, Nigel. The Bullfight As an Art Form. Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2016, A.1. SIRS Issue


Evans, Kim Masters. Entertainment Animals. Animal Rights, edited by Gale. 2010. Information

Plus Reference Series. Opposing Viewpoints in context,

Martin, Hugo. SeaWorld Orcas Are Safer in Enclosures, Park Says. Los Angeles Times, 03 Jan.

2016, A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher,

Merritt, Marianne R. Circus Animals Are Abused. The Rights of Animals, edited by Auriana

Ojeda, Greenhaven Press, 2014. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context.

Mettler, Katie. After 145 Years, Ringling Bros. Circus Elephants Perform... . Washington Post-

Blogs, 02 May 2016. SIRS Issue Researcher,

Milian, Jorge. Jungle Jack Hanna: Zoos are Vital, Not Torture, for Animals. Palm Beach Post,

27 Apr. 2016. SIRS Issues Researcher,

Preface to Should it Be Allowed for Animals to Be Used for Entertainment? The Rights of

Animals, edited by Debra A. Miller, Greehaven Press, 2009. Current Controversies.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context,

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Williams, Weston. Largest-Ever Anti-Bull-Fighting Rally Fills the Streets of Madrid. Christian

Science Monitor, 11 Sept. 2016. SIRS Issue Researcher,