Help Wild Animals in Circuses and Traveling Shows

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A nonprofit fundraiser supporting

Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
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Have You Taken the Pledge?

Captive wild animals suffer in circuses and animal acts – but you can help.

From wild animal acts at your local county fair to big top circuses, captive elephants, big cats, and bears continue to suffer for people’s entertainment. You can help by pledging to: 

  • NEVER attend a circus or traveling show with wild animals.
  • NEVER ride an elephant at a fair or circus.
  • NEVER visit roadside attractions and zoos with wild animal acts.

You can SIGN OUR PETITION by clicking here.

There is nothing humane about wild animal acts in circuses and traveling shows: 

Training methods are inhumane, relying on intimidation, fear, and pain to control the animals and ensure they perform on cue. Handlers often use whips, metal rods, and electric shock devices; elephants used for performances and rides are controlled with cruel bullhooks. 

Extreme confinement restricts bears and big cats to cages so small they can barely stand and turn around; elephants are chained for hours on end. Since performance and training time is short, animals spend the majority of their day confined. 

Travel from city to city is grueling, often covering thousands of miles over several months. During this time, the animals are caged for countless hours in transport vehicles, often standing in their own excrement. 

Unnatural, impoverished environments provide no mental or physical stimulation and prevent the animals from engaging in natural behaviors. Social groupings are often inappropriate, leading to fighting, injury, and death. 

Abnormal behaviors are widespread, manifesting in repetitive rocking, swaying, pacing, and bar biting. These behaviors signal poor welfare. 

Traveling shows take a toll on animal health and welfare. Elephants often develop arthritis and foot disease, while big cats may experience foot problems and become obese from being confined in cramped cages. 

Public safety is at risk. Dangerous wild animals from traveling shows have been involved in escapes, attacks, injuries, property destruction, and fatalities among trainers. 

Wild animal acts have no conservation or education value. They mispresent the true nature of wild animals and their imperiled status in the wild, undermining genuine conservation efforts.  

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Never attend a circus or traveling show with wild animals.
  • Educate people through a letter to the editor of your local paper.
  • Contact event organizers and sponsors and convey your opposition to wild animal acts. 
  • Post your opposition on social media, including the event’s social media pages.
  • Join with others to pass a local ordinance banning wild animals in traveling shows.

Read about tigers in traveling shows here.

Please make a donation to PAWS today

and help end the suffering of wild animals

used for entertainment.

Your donation ensures that the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) reaches as many people as possible with the vital message that it’s time to end the suffering of wild animals used for entertainment.

Subscribe to PAWS' monthly newsletter here.

Since 1984 PAWS has been working to end the suffering of captive wild animals in roadside zoos, the exotic “pet” trade, circuses, and other entertainment – while providing safe refuge for bears, elephants, big cats, and other wild animals at our 2,300-acre ARK 2000 sanctuary in Northern California. For more information visit




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