Animals in Entertainment

A bear rides a bicycle during a show presenting the new program “From Heart to Heart” at the National circus in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.(Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Horse racing, despite being popular, is the source of much animal suffering. It is not only in being whipped and suffering fatal falls, horses and greyhounds are also subject to much ‘behind the scenes’ cruelty. In the racing industry, they are bred to unnatural standards and, if they do not run exceptionally fast, or when they finish their racing lives, are often discarded and abandoned, or sent for slaughter as meat.

Circuses and similar entertainments, at worst exploit and treat animals cruelly and at best compromise their dignity.

Television programmes which ‘get a laugh’ out of animals behaving ‘comically’ demean them and help to desensitize people.

Zoos in some cases have greatly improved their welfare standards, providing space and conditions more closely replicating each species’ natural environment, but many, even in Western Europe, are appalling. Television and film have eliminated the educational need for such places, and only outstanding conservation requirements can justify them.

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