There are a number of myths surrounding the training of wild animals to stand on their heads, jump through hoops, or balance on pedestals for our entertainment. One of these is a technique known as 'positive reinforcement training' (PRT), you may be familiar with it from training your puppy. In essence, when the puppy behaves in the desired manner it is rewarded with bits of food or ‘treats’, but the reality is not all PRT training is positive at all!
Circuses use, abuse and ‘train’ wild animals to entertain audiences who are paying to see wild animals abused. These animals are trained by 'negative reinforcement training'.
The methods used include Bull hooks. They are used by poking and prodding the animal - some times very deep in to the skin - causing pain - in order to force them to perform a certain behaviour. They are often used in conjunction with electric prods that deliver an electric shock as a sharp reminder to the animal that it has not done as the instructor wanted.
This abuse is mixed with starvation and dehydration. These animals are wild and therefore hard to train, they cannot be trained like domestic animals to perform. Circus trainers abuse them with whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bull hooks. Bullhooks are heavy batons with a sharp steel hook on one end, and other painful tools. The animals are kept confined and in fear. They perform difficult tricks because they’re terrified for their life.
David Cameron said his government would implement a ban on using wild animals in travelling circuses by 2015, but the bill was blocked for the 12th time after the Tory MP Andrew Rosindell lodged an objection – a move which, under parliamentary rules covering backbench bills, automatically ended any discussion of the matter.
Mr Rosindell is one of three Tory backbenchers who have prevented any discussion of the private members bill, proposed by the Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick, by objecting on every occasion since the first attempt to debate it in September 2014. The other two are Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, and Christopher Chope, MP for Christchurch– the most frequent discussion blocker, objecting on nine separate occasions. Mr Rosindell’s objection means that it has now “fallen”. It is now down to Theresa Mays government to ensure a new bill is proposed and debated.
There are currently ‘no plans’ to propose such a bill. In the meantime many more animals will be ‘broken’ and 'abused' for human entertainment. Until our MP’s get their act together we are calling on you, the British public to stop this abuse of wild animals by not buying tickets to circuses or shows that include any wild animals.
Write to our PM Teresa May and say enough is enough, it's time to join countries such as Austria, Belgium, Mexico, and the Netherlands and say no to wild animals in circuses.