I am the one you come to see. You sit in the stands with your family and await my arrival. When I perform, you are amazed. Your kids laugh and clap at the tricks I do.
I’m sure, to you, I look happy standing next to my smiling handlers. But I’m not. In fact, my life is full of abuse, isolation and terror to make sure you have a good time at the circus.
I am not meant to be under a big top. I am meant to be in my natural habitat with my own kind.
I can not perform the tricks you see without being beaten until my spirit is broken. Only then will I obey any command from a human. Only then will I cower in front of the person that holds the whip.
Hooks, whips and chains are only a few of the many tools they use to make me “understand” what the audience wants to see.
My scars aren’t visible because the humans know where to hurt me. The hooks are forced into the sensitive flesh behind my ears so you never see the wounds they inflict. This is how the humans get me to move into place.
I didn’t ask to be ripped from my mother and sold to the highest bidder. I don’t want to travel around the country in hot trailers with no air conditioning barely hanging on until the next town.
I know my fellow animal performers die too often from living in appalling conditions because, to the humans, we are expendable and giving us a better life will cut into their profits.
My pain is recorded. The training sessions where I’m subjected to agony have been recorded. Please search online and uncover this horrible secret guarded by the circus industry.
I feel just like you and I hurt just like you. I know you don’t understand that you are laughing at my pain. You don’t realize that you are applauding for a trick that almost paralyzed me to learn. But you are. You are buying tickets to my misery.