Keep Exotic Animals Out of the Circus


Target: Richard Bonde, Mayor of Willowick, Ohio

Goal: Ban circuses and other forms of entertainment that involve wild animals

A community in Ohio is discussing the possibility of banning circuses and other forms of entertainment that feature exotic animals. At a recent Willowick City Council meeting, citizens spoke up about the Kelly Miller Circus, which has visited the town each year for more than a decade. This is another wonderful example of a town collectively doing its part to see that animal welfare is a right, not a privilege, and we must support its decision to keep exotic animals out of the circus.

Melissa Shy of Willowick, Ohio drafted and presented the ordinance, which would ban exotic animals from performing in the city. “When you bring the circus to the city, you are telling the residents that it is safe and it is humane, and that is simply a lie,” Shy said. “The animals are abused in every sense of the word. Not only are you endorsing a cruel, inhumane and outdated event, the liability issues are reasonable and justifiable.” Several audience members testified that they are also concerned about the mistreatment of circus animals and many others voiced concerns about the potential for dangerous animals to escape and harm the public.

In circuses, animals are beaten, hit, poked, prodded, and jabbed with sticks and sharp hooks, sometimes until bloody, in order to force them to perform difficult and confusing tricks. The treatment involved in training isn’t the most harmful aspect of circus life for an animal, however. These are wild animals who have natural behaviors in which they need to participate in order to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled. A life in the circus removes any chance of happiness they might have. Many circus animals live shortened lives or experience varying levels of psychological distress because of their inability to function in a natural capacity.

No action has currently been taken since the meeting, but officials have announced that they anticipate further discussion on the matter. Please take a moment to sign the petition below and support this wonderful ordinance that would keep many more wild animals out of the entertainment industry.


Dear Mayor Bonde,

At a recent city council meeting citizens spoke up about a proposed ordinance that would ban the use of animals in forms of entertainment, effectively keeping the Kelly Miller Circus out of Willowick. No matter how humanely exotic and wild animals are treated in these environments by their trainers and caretakers, the amount of abuse they suffer is still great. They have been removed from their natural environment and are unable to actively participate in behaviors that are necessary to their sanity and welfare. Just as a bird will tear out its own feathers from stress or ultimately live a much shorter life if it is unable to fly, so to do the elephants, tigers and other animals need to engage in their natural behaviors.

Animals do not exist for our entertainment. Please listen to the citizens of Willowick and pass this ordinance banning events that use exotic animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: dirkcircusimages via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Keep wild and domestic animals out of circuses

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