Animals in “Entertainment”

Circuses, Zoos and Theme Parks

Circuses and zoos typically involve taking wild creatures and caging them in an unnatural and often very stressful “habitat” for the rest of their lives. With their freedom stolen from them, sometimes under horrific circumstances, many of them suffer unbearably from boredom, stress and depression for years. Many are traumatized and some become psychotic under these conditions. When an animal decides that they can’t take it any longer and fights back they may injure the people that are ‘working’ with them and are often punished severely either using pain, intimidation or fear tactics or others may lose their lives as they are deemed ‘unsafe to work with’.

If you need any convincing of what is wrong with theme parks like Seaworld, take a look at the documentary “Blackfish”. It should be noted that some of the key funding for the Taiji dolphin slaughter is from Seaworld as they create a demand for wild dolphins. Often other exotic animals are the drivers for the poaching industry and it isn’t uncommon for a parent animal to be killed in order to steal their young for ‘entertainment’.

For the reasons above it is also wise to avoid the temptation to ‘hold the baby monkey or orangutan’ when overseas on holiday.

Caged tiger in zoo

rodeo horse throwing rider


Rodeos expose many bulls, horses and calves to abuse every year in Australia. Severe trauma, injuries, neglect and deaths are typical outcomes for the animals in the very ill-regulated exploitative rodeo industry.

Horses, bulls and steers are goaded into behaving ‘wildly’ for the entertainment of a noisy crowd, flank straps, electric prodders and spurs may be used to force the frightened animal to react. In the ‘calf-roping’ events small frightened calves are chased and roped on horseback, pulled to a jarring halt and then thrown to the ground to have their legs tied together. The sudden halt is very dangerous for the calf and injuries aren’t uncommon.

Rodeos have no purpose at all for the animal and have a high risk of injury to the animal while causing them unnecessary trauma, injury and distress.

Rodeos have been banned in the ACT, UK and elsewhere as they have been recognized as a cruel pastime but they still continue in most states of Australia.


In both greyhound and horse racing sweet animals are bred en masse with the purpose of running very fast around a track for human entertainment and gambling. In both cases tens of thousands of animals are bred every year in Australia and many of these animals ‘aren’t fast enough’ for the tracks. This creates a problem of ‘wastage’ in the industry where there are animals that would cost time and money to care for who have no monetary worth to the humans. For this reason we kill 18,000 healthy horses and 20,000 healthy dogs every year in Australia.

As if this isn’t atrocious enough there are other widespread practices within the industries that harm the animals that do ‘make it’ on the track. Recently the footage has surfaced showing the widespread practice of live baiting or ‘blooding’ the greyhounds where ‘trainers’ tie live possums, piglets or rabbits to the lure to be sent at speeds of 55km/hr around the track with a group of greyhounds chasing them. After experiencing this horror the animals were ripped to pieces, bit by bit, by the hounds, conscious for the entire process. If the humans involved in the greyhound industry are capable of this level of cruelty one would be foolish to believe that their dogs are treated well. Greyhounds make some of the sweetest, most grateful and gentle pet dogs in the canine world and those racing are usually not kept as pets. They spend their lives used for profit, never to experience a kind human hand.

In the horse-racing industry there are practices of dosing the horses up with painkillers so that they don’t feel pain while they are running which means that they can push themselves to injury. Many horses have nosebleeds after running and others die on the track as we have seen recently with the Melbourne cup casualties. If a horse injures his or her leg they are usually killed and the ‘retirement plan’ for a horse used for racing is very similar in most circumstances (a bullet to the head).

There is no doubt about it; the animals in the racing industry are all running for their lives. Betting on them is a vote to say that this treatment of animals is acceptable. Avoiding the racetrack and refusing to bet or take part in sweeps at work are all ways to help bring an end to the exploitation.

horse racing

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