“Animals used in performances must be treated with respect, and not objectified, or subjected to indignity or ridicule.” – RSPCA

“Circuses. Elephantstigers, and other animals that circuses use to entertain audiences do not stand on their heads, jump through hoops, or balance on pedestals because they want to. They perform these and other difficult tricks because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t.” – PETA

In this generation, with the increase of media and technology, the treatment of animals has become a serious issue. Animals in this day and age are used for multiples purposes. Whether its for sport, food or in this case entertainment. 

For a while, the circus industry have had allegations towards them for their treatment of animals. Circus shows are constantly on the road, moving from city to city or even country to country. This means animals are constantly transported, sometimes in rugged and unstable cages, without a large consumption of food or water. 

“Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls for the crack of the whip against the animal’s stinging wounds”

The advertisement, created by two Portuguese animal rights organisations: Acção Animal and Liga Portuguesa dos Direitos do Animal (LDPA), shows a lion with face paint meaning that it is used for the circus. Yet depending on which perspective you see this image from it may differ from the original denotation. 

The denotation of “Animals are not clowns” literally means that animals are not meant to be treated like clowns. Yet the message may also connote another meaning. From my point of view, I see a lion who is imprisoned and exploited for the entertainment and leisure of people. The prison bars portray a tough and negative environment for the Lion enforcing the audience to immediately feel empathy, for not only the lions, but all the circus animals.  

Conversely, the point of view from a Child’s perspective may contrast to my and others perspective. Face paint growing up conveys positive connotations as it was a novelty to have your face painted, showing a child’s involvement or support towards a team, event etc. When young children attend circus shows they tend to disregard the bigger issues involving the animals. In the show, the animals may seem to be happy or joyful, yet be tormented and treated poorly behind the scenes. 

This issue portrayed in the advertisement allows for universal discussion in regards to the treatment of animals. Other aspects can be looked into further, for example the treatment of horses in horse racing or the treatment of greyhounds in greyhound racing. Yet as these two sports appear to be quite popular socially and financially, a discussion will most likely simmer down and be forgotten by most. 








6 thoughts on ““Animals are not Clowns” – Complex Image

  1. I feel like animal mistreatment is something society tends to ignore or not fully grasp the concept of, especially for animals used in shows or tourism. One time my mum was talking to me about holiday ideas and she asked if I’d want to go to Thailand and ride elephants. To which I replied “are you serious?”, obviously she didn’t have any malicious feelings towards the elephants but was probably just not as well educated on their treatment as a tourist attraction.

    Even myself, I see heaps of posts about saving the koalas from going extinct and stuff like that, and I regretfully say that I don’t do anything about it other than think “oh shame” and then go get a sandwich or something as if what I heard wasn’t super terrible. I’m kind of losing where I was going now but I guess we focus so much on our own lives which I think are genuinely very busy and require a lot from us that when confronted with animals in distress, well it’s not at the top of our everyday priorities.

    I’m super glad we have activists and researchers who help with conservation of endangered species, without them I think the awareness and concern about extinction and environmental damage would be much less than it already is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The way that the main focus of the animal abuse is all backed up by facts and quotes is amazing. The use of an international example in current day that can be interpreted in multiple ways is an amazing asset to the development of the story. This piece shows that many people can understand images in several different ways and your own personal view is a pivotal example of how this is expressed in everyday life. The statement about the contrast of viewership between that of a child and that of an adult is another great example. Your writing and way of writing is great, keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You chose a great image that also spreads awareness about animal exploitation. It was great how you wrote about both your perspective, and a child’s, about how face painting can be associated with positivity and creativity, contrasted to the intended meaning of the image. I found a page where you can pledge against using animals as entertainment: https://www.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/pledge/circus-cruelty/ if you have not signed this, I recommend to further help the cause! You could also use a link like this to enable your audience to further engage after they have read your post, and like me, become more educated on the issue and become motivated to try and help.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi James! I think you’ve chosen a super powerful image here and your discussion of this issue was very engaging. I also liked how you added that a child’s view would change the connotation of this image. I think the issue of how we treat animals is important and needs to be spoken about more, which is what this advertisement and yourself have tried to do. I’ve found a video relating to this issue about zoos if you wanted to check it out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHBuAOp5upU. I’ve seen animals in circus and zoos in other countries where they were clearly mistreated and I believe we should all try to put an end to this abuse. Signing petitions as someone else mentioned is a great start. I’d love to see more of your work, keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey! this was so interesting to read and it’s something no one really speaks about. The image engaged me into reading your as its very interesting how the designers depicted this issue. I like how you provided a bit of a background into the issue to make us understand what going on as well as it being very easy to understand. It’s interesting to see how different we think when we are younger and how much it changes over time.
    Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

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