In recent years a number of countries have begun to better regulate circuses and restrict the animals that they can use. But for most animals kept by circuses their life is miserable routine of training, performance, and being locked in cages.
Using animals in circus performances is damaging to the welfare of those animals and sends the wrong message to the public.
Animals are regularly taken from their mothers at a very early age. They are then trained using domination and fear, often using cruel and abusive practices, to force them to do unnatural tricks.
Animals are transported from location to location as the circuses move throughout Lebanon, loaded and unloaded, and kept in small wagons, trucks or shipping containers.
When they are not performing or being moved, they spend their time locked in these wagons, trucks and containers, unable to express any natural behavior, and often showing abnormal behaviors and poor body condition.
Seeing animals used and kept like this the public - and especially children - receive a terrible message. It wrongly teaches them that animals can be used, abused, and manipulated, all for our entertainment.
We are working to stop animals from being used in circuses. We campaign the government to force circuses to follow existing regulations, ask the public to boycott circuses that use animals, and work to regulate circuses through the animal protection and welfare law.
In 2010 we successfully lobbied the Minister of Agriculture to close down an Egyptian circus that arrived to Lebanon. The animals had been driven overland from Egypt for six days, a lion cub had been declawed and was still bleeding from her paws, and the necessary paperwork and permits were not secured.
Cirque du Liban, the only Lebanese circus, stated in 2011 “We believe the use of Animals in circuses is no longer ethically acceptable and do not use any animals in our work.” They also wrote that they are in support of the animal protection and welfare law as it can “prevent the use of animals in circuses before it becomes a wider problem.”
Only one year later Cirque du Liban changed completely, and they now keep or use a variety of animals. Lions, tigers and even birds and cats are now used in performances and for promoting the circus.
These animals are forced to perform unnatural tricks on a daily basis, trucked all over the country, and spend their days locked in dark, cramped wagons and shipping containers.
What you can do
- Do not visit circuses that use animals.
- If your school or club wants to arrange a visit to a circus, let them know that you would rather see a circus that does not use animals.
- If you do visit a circus and don’t like what you see – speak up! Tell the circus workers and circus owner, share your experience on social media, tell your friends and family, contact the sponsors of the circus. If people stop visiting circuses because they use animals the circus will be forced to close down or change.
- Call and email Cirque du Liban and tell them that you love the circus but hate animal abuse. Always be polite, but make sure they know that until they go animal free you will not visit. You can call the circus on 03 011515 and 03 017859, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- See an animal in a circus that is abused or needs help? Report it to us and the Ministry of Agriculture.