Last week, Ringling Bros. Circus announced that elephants would no longer be a part of its circus performances after 2018.
One of the most compelling cases for removing animals from the circus is the evidence of big cats being mistreated.
1. Cubs are removed from their mothers months — and sometimes years — before they would wean themselves in the wild in order to make them behave more submissively toward humans.
2. Witnesses from Animal Defense International saw and photographed a baby tiger being smashed in the face in order to make him "behave."
3. For every performing lion or tiger, 30 lions or tigers are destroyed because they don't have the look or temperament for training.
4. The wheelbarrow used to transport meat to the tigers for feeding was reportedly the same one used to haul sawdust and hay contaminated with animal waste, according to a report by a former employee.
5. A Chicago animal inspection revealed that tigers used in the shows were transported to and from performances in rolling cages and that there were no practice performances, meaning that the only exercise the tigers received was during shows.
6. One report by Animal Defenders International revealed that tigers spend between 75% and 99% of their time in cramped 6.5-foot-by-8-foot cages.
7. A Marin Humane Society report revealed that the tigers' cages had no protection from the sun and were not large enough for the tigers to turn around completely.
8. The same report noted that there were often times when the tigers had no access to water.
There are many ways to take action against cruelty in the circus so that big cats and other animals can lead their lives free from abuse and fear.
Animal Defenders International was misstated as Animal Defense International in an earlier version of this article.