Zoos & Circuses

Increasingly, countries, provinces and cities all over the world are banning the use of animals, both domestic and wild, for entertainment purposes such as circuses. Find resources to help you ‘tell the other story‘ of what goes on behind the scenes of circuses and to STOP them coming to your town.

How to ban wild animal circuses that may be coming to your town:

  1. Call your City or Municipal Hall and find out if Council is considering a by-law to ban circuses that have performing wild or exotic animals.
  2. Fax a letter to the mayor expressing your concern about the community supporting acts that abuse animals. Copy your letter to the SPCA or local humane group.
  3. Write a similar letter to the media. Don’t hesitate to send your letter to the editor of both daily and community papers expressing your point of view.
  4. Join or start a committee, perhaps working with the SPCA or local humane group, whose goal is to implement a campaign to convince Council to adopt a by-law against the use of wild/exotic animals in performing venues.
  5. Don’t attend a circus with performing animals – only attend animal-free circuses.


Zoocheck – Education and Conservation


Life of Circus Animals


“I WANT TO RIDE AN ELEPHANT” – Although the thought of riding an elephant may sound like fun, have you ever wondered how much fun is it for the ELEPHANTS that are forced to give rides day in and day out??? What follows is the gruesome reality of the elephant tourism trade…

The demand for baby elephants in the tourism industry is high. Many elephants are captured from the wild – babies are prematurely taken from their mothers while still nursing. Oftentimes, the family herd is culled in order to catch the young.


Elephants used in the tourist industry are broken through a cruel spirit-breaking ritual known as Phajaan. Once an elephant is caught, then forced into a makeshift cage the terrified baby is stabbed, poked, prodded, and starved for days – sometimes weeks on end – until it becomes submissive, i.e. “domesticated” under the torture After the baby stops struggling to free him/herself, it is released from the Phajaan cage only to be used as a slave for entertaining tourists. Even elephants that are born into captivit need to be “crushed” before they are thrust into tourism.


Due to their “cuteness,” baby & juvenile elephants are used as attractions at beach resorts until they are old enough to give rides at tourism camps. Once they reach a certain age when they are no longer deemed as “cute,” the elephants will be shipped to camps wherein they will be forced to perform circus-like tricks, paint, trek and be exploited for other forms of tourism. Many young elephants will also be used as street beggars; tourists pay to feed young elephants sugarcane or have their photos taken with the elephants.


When not being used for entertaining tourists, elephants are kept on short chains that limit their movement. The camp conditions in which these intelligent beings are held are oftentimes horrifying. Elephants in captivity are deprived of everything that is natural & essential to their well being. Family bonds are broken. Their diets are poor. And they receive little to no vet care. Overworked elephants have been known to collapse from exhaustion and health ailments. And their day-to-day lives consist of beatings via a bullhook or stick (with a nail concealed at the tip) to keep them in fear, and to remind them of their punishment if they do not obey their owner’s (mahout’s) commands. THIS is their reality.

We urge you to  PLEASE research elephants in the tourist industry BEFORE booking your trip or trekking tour.Education is key.

Despite their being in captivity, tourist elephants are still very much WILD animals. The exploitation of these majestic beings is unethical. And as elephants are emotional animals, they are sensitive to loud noises and groups of tourists riding and climbing on their backs all day, every day. Also, the heavy chairs (howdahs) used for #trekking put unnatural strain on an elephant’s spine.

BE A RESPONSIBLE TOURIST: PLEASE support responsible tourism instead – true sanctuaries that do not offer trekking, tricks, painting, etc. Two reputable sanctuaries: Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary and Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.

Ethical Ele Exp Worldwide – Names Only is a compilation of ethical elephant camps and tourist friendly locations that we condone visiting. (Credit: Leanne Fogarty)


1) The Shocking Truth Behind Thailand’s Elephant Tourism 

2) Why You Should Never Ride An Elephant 

3) If You Love Elephants, Don’t Ride Them: Here’s Why

4) Elephants in Tourism

5) Why Elephant Painting is Not Cute

6) Why Elephants Frolicking on the Beach Isn’t So Cute



Thanks to Brandy Michelle Monroe for providing the information on elephants in the Tourist Industry.

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