One of the biggest American circuses presents its latest number with elephants. Let's take a closer look at how animal rights activists pulled off this feat.

"The mobilization in recent years by animal rights groups has succeeded in raising public awareness, forcing the entertainment industry which uses elephants and other animal species to retreat."

Source: La Presse

"It is not in the nature of the animal to do clown acts and the public is still far from imagining the techniques which are used to make an animal to carry out a requested command".

Source: 30 million friends

The next activities will allow students to familiarize themselves with the living conditions of circus animals, training techniques as well as possible actions to stop this animal cruelty.


At the end of the activities, the student will be able to:

- Explain the conditions for keeping animals in circuses;
- Understand the importance of associations protecting animal rights;
- Invent the story of a circus animal with the narrative scheme;
- Actively participate in the protection of circus animals.

Suggested Activities

ACTIVITY 1: Last lap

Begin this activity by asking students if they have ever seen a circus show with animals.

Display the cuff next to start a discussion with them. Here are some questions:

- Why are there animals in the circus?
- What could replace animals in circuses?
- How can we train or tame circus animals?
- How do animals feel in captivity?
- What can the population do to stop this type of entertainment?
- Etc.

ACTIVITY 2: Samba, I was an elephant

Begin this activity by presenting Samba's life, African elephant captured in the wild and exploited in circuses.

Have the students write the same type of story, choosing a circus animal of their choice.

Distribute to them this writing grid so that they can create their story outline there.

ACTIVITY 3: Andra's training

Begin this activity by asking students if they have any idea how to train an animal to spin or stand on its hind legs.

Present this short video to students if they are mature enough to understand gravity and have a strong enough heart to view these powerful images.

Then present this timeline which features several victories against the mistreatment of animals in circuses around the world.

Suggest that the students list other rescues circus animals who had a happy ending. Several of these circus animals were released following the mobilization of the public or various associations protecting animal rights.

Explain to students that they too can take action and make a difference for these helpless animals by signing this petition.

More about the magazine

New photos show ringling circus elephant training
Peta France, March 6, 2015

The cruelty of the circuses revealed in 60 seconds
Peta France, 2015

A retired elephant after 53 years in a circus
Canoe, April 26, 2016

Last lap for the elephants
L'illustré, May 3, 2016

Thirty-three lions rescued from South American circuses transferred to Africa
RFI, April 29, 2016

Long live the circus, but without animals!
Free dolphins, May 18, 2012