“Animals used in performances must be treated with respect, and not objectified, or subjected to indignity or ridicule.” – RSPCA
“Circuses. Elephants, tigers, 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.
CIRCUSES / PETA