A Voice for the Voiceless


Photo by Erin Blevins

People protesting the use of animals in circuses in Springfield

Erin Blevins

People gathered outside the JQH arena last weekend in protest of the Shriners Circus. Many people there believed that animals should not be used for entertainment and that they are mistreated. 

In some cases, the animals have been misused. All throughout our history we have used animals in entertainment. In the gladiator games they used lots of wild animals to add another gruesome element to these savage games. 

As far back as 2000 B.C. archaeologists have found that animals were kept in cages. The early circus involved such as camels, elephants and horses, that performed tricks on command. 

As for the Shriners Circus, they use other peoples animals. For instance, a big-cat exhibitor with the Shrine circus in Springfield, Missouri, was cited for five animal-welfare violations, including endangering the public, denying tigers adequate space and exercise, and transporting animals in a filthy vehicle with a “foul odor,” flies and maggots, and a build-up of what appeared to be hair, food waste, and excrements.

The protest this year was to show people that using animals for entertainment causes them a lot of stress and normally don’t get the amount of exercise they need. One protester commented, “Why would you want to see animals parading around… They are mistreated and don’t get everything they need from being in that environment” 

Some of the protesters were small children. Who said that they were sad that the animals were not where they were supposed to be. Some people there didn’t think it was cruel to keep them in small cages because the animals were used to it. But one person disagreed, “they are overly stressed in these situation how would you feel if you were trapped in your office days on end and were forced to do your work”

There was another group that attended the protest but on the other side of the argument. The people entering the circus were mostly unbothered by the protesters. The other group was on the side of the circus that, “They are being well kept and getting feed,” Commented one of the residents of Springfield, interview by our Fair Grove Digi Com teams. 

A lot of the bystanders were in a hurry to get inside the show. One side of this argument sees no compassion in these events and some see a well kept and safe environment. “Although it might not be natural, they are used to this and most likely kept in this type of environment since birth,” Added another circus goer entering the JQH arena. 

One visitor entering said that there probably is some animal abuse in circuses. She commented, “I think they might think the worst of the situation and we need to be more open to talking about the issue on both sides” 

Agreeing that everyone involved should hear and consider both sides of this argument, seeing if the animals are kept physically and mentally well kept.

More photos of the protest here