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Coercive Training That Goes Against Nature
While we cannot affirm that acts of violence are systematically perpetrated on animals in circuses during training, we can nevertheless affirm that the methods used are coercive and contrary to animal welfare.
For wild cats and primates, whips and clubs replace the ankus and are used to constantly pressure the animals into submission and remind them that they may be corrected if they refuse to perform. Testimonials by trainers only confirm the sad reality behind circus lover Pierre Robert Levy's statement that "it would be hypocritical to think training could occur without restraint and some degree of violence. (13) "
"I stood firm, waiting for them, whip in hand (...). They understood full well that the clash between us, without witnesses, would be turbulent. (15) " (Jean-Richard, Trainer)
"(...) and make them understand the law of the club, where a blow to the nose should be enough to eliminate any further inclination toward aggression. (16) " (Jean Richard, Trainer)
"Docile animals that have become aware of their superiority are the most dangerous of all the wild cats. If they have never been corrected they do not fear humans, and nothing can curb their wild instinct. (17)" (Alfred Court, Trainer)
"Many trainers beat their animals. (18) " (Maxime Sénéca, Trainer)
Unnatural positions and behaviors
- Breakdown of social groups
- Difficulties with shared accommodation, particularly between species (lions, tigers, etc.)
- Lack of flight distance
- Presence of fire
- Unnatural positions (sitting, standing on hind legs, etc.)
Forcing an elephant into an unnatural position such as headstands, standing on the hind legs, or kneeling can affect the animal's health, according to zoologists at the Vienna Zoo: "These positions can cause joint and intervertebral disk injuries, as well as cracked toenails. Balancing exercises can lead to motor disorders in the elbow and knee joints. (19) "
The premature wear and tear of joints, tendons, and limbs is believed to be the result of exercises requiring animals to stand on one leg or form a pyramid. Lindau (21) confirms that these positions on the front or hind legs can lead to limping and are particularly dangerous for young elephants.
13 LEVY, Pierre Robert, Les animaux du cirque , Syros Alternative,1992.
14 DERIABKINE, Vladimir, Courrier International , No. 641, February 13, 2003.
15 RICHARD, Jean, Mes bêtes à moi , Éd. Fernand Nathan, 1966.
16 RICHARD, Jean, Envoyez les lions !! ou le métier de dompteur , Éd. Fernand Nathan, 1971.
17 COURT, Alfred, La cage aux fauves , Éd. de Paris, 1937.18 Dordogne Libre , March 18, 2000.
19 SCHWAMMER, Dr. Harald, PECHLANER, Dr. Helmut, GSANDTER, Hermann, BUCHL-KRAMMERSTATTER, Dr. Guidelines for keeping of wild animals in circuses , Vienna, 1996.20 KUNTZE, A. "Work-related illnesses: hernia perinealis, bursitis praepatellaris, and tyloma olecrani in female circus elephants," Verh.Ber.Erkrg.Zootiere , 1989.
21 LINDAU, K-H, "Lameness in circus elephants - a result of training?" Verhanlungsberichte des Internationalen Symposiums über die Erkrankungen des Zootiere , 1970.