Category Archives: Circus

Tigers forced to Perform at State Fair


A “show”, called the Amazing Rainforest Experience, is run by Robert Mullen of the Orlando, Florida–based PM Productions Entertainment Inc., a production group that features traveling shows with a host of exotic animals.

Hundreds of visitors have complained the tigers appear severely emaciated, with prominent spines and hip bones. The cats also appeared lethargic, or even drugged. One described them as “skeletons.”

Julie Hanan, of the Minnesota-based Wildcat Sanctuary, told The Dodo that her group has been flooded with “desperate pleas” from people who’ve visited the fair and were shocked by the state of the animals.


Abbie Knudsen, a biologist with Missouri’s National Tiger Sanctuary, has heard similar concerns from the public. “I have heard tons of accounts from people that have seen the animals, and visited the animals firsthand, that they do not look in good body condition,” she said.

Despite concern from both the public and big cat conservation groups the Missouri State Fair said that the tigers were being regularly inspected, implying that the animals were in satisfactory condition: “In accordance with the State Fair’s Animal Care policy, all animals and livestock shown, housed or displayed, shall receive care that is healthful and consistent with accepted husbandry practices and the rules and regulations set forth by the Missouri State Fair. This policy applies to animals in entertainment acts, such as the Amazing Rainforest Experience, as well. The Missouri Department of Agriculture state veterinarians monitor the tigers twice per day. These practices reflect the care and concern that Missourians have for livestock, poultry, companion animals and wildlife. ”


The state of the tigers raises concerns about food deprivation, a common method used by trainers at circuses to keep animals in line. “Of course we can’t speak to the exact issue with this exhibitor, but we have seen in the past that they will tend to keep cats hungry to perform,” Hanan said.

In an interview with a local outlet, Mullen said that he fed the tigers 13 to 14 pounds of chicken daily. Both Bass and Hanan said if this is all the tigers are getting, the diet is insufficient: They would need more food, as well as red meat, bones and organs, to thrive.

Whatever the reason, it’s evident from the photos that the animals aren’t healthy. In one photo that shows a tiger on his hind legs, the ratio between the animal’s waist and his hips is disturbing.

This mistreatment by the “Amazing Rainforest Experience”,  is not new. A 2013 video released by the International Fund for Animal Welfare appears to feature the same company and shows several disturbing interactions between a trainer and the cats.

When a tiger initially tries to exit the stage, the trainer deters him and the animal listlessly makes his way through his routine. When the trainer later tries to shut a door on him, the tiger takes a swipe at him.

YouTube/IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare

Another scene features a severely underweight cougar, his hip bones standing out like blades. When he’s reluctant to leave the stage, the trainer grabs him by his collar and literally drags him out as he resists.

YouTube/IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare

If you find these picture and video disturbing and you want to help, you can let the Missouri State Fair know how you feel, click here:

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End to Circus Elephants in USA?


Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) has reintroduced the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) to Congress. If this bill passes, it would restrict the use of exotic, and non-domesticated animals by traveling circuses in the United States.

The Bill is being pushed by Animal Defenders International (ADI), which has successfully lobbied thirty countries to ban, or limit the use of animals in traveling circuses. TEAPA aims to end the use of exotic and wild animals in circuses, because they are subjected to cramped quarters, and forced to perform under fear of being physically assaulted if they refuse.

“Magnificent wild animals have no place in a traveling circus, and with this bill, the US joins almost 30 countries across the world that have taken action to end the suffering. Due to the very nature of the traveling circus, wild animals cannot move around or exercise naturally, they live their whole lives chained or tied up, or in small cages that fit on the back of a truck. Our investigations have also shown that violence to control animals is part of circus culture; animals are beaten, whipped and electric shocked to make them perform tricks. This brutality has no place in modern society,” said ADI President Jan Creamer.

ADI has been working with Moran, and is supplying members of Congress with detailed evidence of animal abuse in traveling circuses. “From video and photographic evidence, it’s clear that traveling circuses aren’t providing the proper living conditions for exotic animals. This legislation is intended to target the most egregious situations involving exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses,” said Moran. “The mounting evidence of inhumane treatment and the growing public concern for these animals demands that we reconsider what are appropriate living conditions for these intelligent, social creatures,” he added.

ADI estimates that around three hundred wild animals tour the United States with circuses. Already, over forty local ordinances have been passed in twenty states, but ADI argues that it is vital the issue be addressed federally, because a circus may train animals in one state, but move them between a dozen, or more states during the year.

The Bill would see the United States join almost thirty diverse countries that have already passed similar legislation including Austria, Belgium, Greece, India, Bolivia, Colombia and Panama. Other countries that are currently considering legislation include Great Britain, Brazil and Mexico. British Prime Minister David Cameron, recently promised that a ban would be passed within the next twelve months.

In October 2013, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of bullhooks and “other implements and tools designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training and controlling the behavior of elephants” in circuses and traveling shows within the county. Stephen Payne, vice president of Field Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. “Really what this bill does is it bans the use of the guide for our circus. We’ll be unable to bring Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey back to the city of Los Angeles.” The bill is not go in effect until 2017

Judging from the amount of countries that have already banned the use of wild animals in circuses, it is fair to say that animal circuses are no longer an acceptable form of entertainment. Shows with human performers such as ‘Cirque de Soleil’ are rapidly growing in popularity.

Images below were taken at Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus Elephant “Training Facility”. Here baby elephants are taken away from their mothers and beaten until submission so they will perform tricks for human amusement




 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, Inc.
Christopher J. Gervais, Founder & CEO
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
Twitter: @WCFF_org