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In a vegan world, animals would interact with humans when and if they want to, not because they are chained to a stake or trapped in a cage.Animal rights is not about bigger cages or more humane training methods; it's about not using or exploiting animals for food, clothing, or entertainment.
In the United States, the federal Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act would ban the use of nonhuman primates, elephants, lions, tigers, and other species in circuses, but has not been passed yet. A lawsuit against Ringling Brothers was dismissed based on a finding that plaintiffs did not have standing; the court did not rule on the cruelty allegations.
While some animal advocates want to regulate the use of animals in circuses, circuses with animals will never be considered completely cruelty-free.
Attention has focused on elephants because they are considered by many to be highly intelligent, are the largest circus animals, may be the most abused, and arguably suffer more in captivity than smaller animals.
However, animal rights is not about ranking or quantifying suffering, because all sentient beings deserve to be free.
The following essay will introduce elephants and their plight as a species, but will focus on the suffering of circus elephants.
Circuses are major culprits of elephant exploitation.
Elephants in circuses are not cared for properly and often experience abuse.
The purpose of this essay is to not only point out these cruelties, but to discuss how we can change the fate of elephants in circuses worldwide.
Many would support a ban on "wild" or "exotic" animals in circuses.
With elephants, the abuse begins when they are babies to break their spirits.