Saturday, May 22, 2010

Circus show on TV sent wrong message

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May 22, 2010
Circus show on TV sent wrong message

I WAS dismayed to tune in to MediaCorp TV's Channel 5 on Tuesday to see a show called 22nd Golden Circus, a circus show with a segment featuring a lion performing unnatural tricks.

Circus shows featuring wild animals are inhumane and uneducational. To have a lion perform such tricks would require training methods that necessitate a relationship based on fear by the animal for its trainer, which would have been acquired through physical beatings from a young age.

The lion in this show probably has never been able to display its natural behaviour and, like other circus animals, spends time offstage in a tiny cage.

The message this sends to children is that it is okay for an animal to be reduced to performing demeaning tricks, such as being shaved or "punched" by a member of the circus crew and then falling down "unconscious". Is this really what we want to teach our children?

There are plenty of circus shows that highlight the skills of the team without using wild animals - Cirque de Soleil, for example. Such shows are a fantastic example of teamwork, extreme fitness, strength and human skill.

Let's see more of these shows, but leave the animals where they belong - in the wild.

Natalie Cook (Ms)