Performing Animals- What Can a Tourist Do?

First off I use the words traveler and tourist interchangeably, so take your pick. In our travels we sometimes come across a situation where we end up interacting with performing animals. I have to admit I became conscious of the issue only gradually!

I derive a lot of pleasure from visiting national parks. I have been lucky to visit many in India. I have been to one each in South Africa and Thailand. It is a joy to watch a wild animal in its natural habitat. I am slightly phobic of all animals, so I anyway enjoy them at a distance.

Elephants are wild, not performing animals

elephant-not-performing-animal

Elephants are Wild not Performing Animals

But what about animals that perform in the circus? Or for that matter that are raised to entertain tourists! To take an example elephants are wild animals, they are awe inspiring when seen in their natural habitat. On their own they will never do any tricks that they end up doing in camps or circuses. Some form of cruelty is involved to make an elephant perform the tricks which are contrary to their natural behavior. One common instrument used to tame them is the bullhook. You can search about such practices and then take call on whether you wish to support them or not. No one in their right minds would actually support it. We visit such places out of ignorance mostly.

Dolphins are wild not performing animals

The second issue that came to my mind was of performing marine animals, particularly dolphins. I have seen dolphins only once in the sea in Goa. I got a fleeting glimpse of two of them swimming together. I immediately smiled at the sight. I am not so sure about performing dolphins though. And whatever I read about it doesn’t look good either. I would say go for dolphin watching (or any other marine life) in the wild rather than going for a show.

Husky rides seem to be alright

husky-lapland-finland

A Husky Ride in Lapland, Finland

I once went on a husky ride in Lapland, Finland. I went back to look at the treatment of the dogs and I found that running around in a pack is not contrary to their behavior. There are laws governing the treatment of the dogs in many countries. However, taken to the extremes even this can turn dangerous to the animals. I read of an incident in Canada where a business owner killed his huskies in a cruel way because his business fell in volume and the business no longer needed the dogs.

What are your views on performing animals? Do share your thoughts.

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24 thoughts on “Performing Animals- What Can a Tourist Do?”

  1. I really feel bad when I see animals being beaten so that they perform well in circus. Absolute inhumane behavior. Let animals stay free in their natural habitat!

    • As a child I went to circuses and never gave a thought as to how things were happening! But now I know better.

  2. Mridula, your post made me think that whether keeping dogs at home is cruel or not because they aren’t meant for tameness.

    • Ravish I still feel dogs are not harmed in a domestic environment. But then I am no expert.

  3. Animals thrive best in their natural habitat… the way some people treat them is really pathetic…

  4. Shift wild animals to national parks or jungles and provide govt. jobs to people associated with performing animals.
    Even Zoo animals should be sent to national parks or jungles and provide govt. jobs to people associated with zoos.

    • Shrinidhi if I set a featured photo it appears twice and I am not able to do anything about it 🙁

  5. Really nice story you got up there. I really hope people start caring for animals as their own. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. I always had an impression till now that dolphins are performing animals. I my opinion going to the wilderness to see animals in their natural habitat is better than seeing tamed performances, if taming involves cruelty towards animals.

  7. I am so glad that you have voiced this. I never found it cute when people pose with performing animals, or swim with the dolphins in captivity. We humans, it seems, have no limit to what we would exploit for our personal gains…

    • Pratishta I guess people do it out of ignorance, but yes if more of us stopped supporting it, it will probably go away?

  8. I am not sure, if I am going out of context on this but I find riding an animal also cruel. Yes, there may be laws that justify animal rides but as an animal lover I feel that it is a discomforting act for animals. What do you say?

    • Nidhi I am personally slightly phobic of animals. So I will hardly go for a ride. I also know it is very difficult to draw a line somewhere. I wish I had answers, I have only questions.

  9. In today’s world man doesn’t need animals be tamed for the heavy work except in some cases perhaps. With the cranes and other machines around to do the needful. And to tame them for entertainment is cruelty. Recently there was a news report of dogs being used for ring fighting in Punjab just like it happens in Afghanistan. I really hope animal activists get successful in stopping such activities soon.

  10. Thought provoking post Mridula! As a child I have seen animal shows and have also been to the circus. I do question these today as an adult and as a parent. I guess its difficult to draw the line and animals are best left in the wild.

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