The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Should Circuses be Banned?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/16/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 776 times Debate No: 97083
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Round 1.) Introduction
Round 2.) Argument
Round 3.) Rebuttal
Round 4.) Closing statements

Many Americans go to circuses each year. Either it be for there children's entertainment or their own. Little do they know a majority of those animals they see have been separated from there mothers at a young age, abused, and starved just to train them to do tricks. I believe that circuses should be banned. I'm looking for a civil fun debate nothing more.


hi, I'm hoping for a good debate :)

I am arguing against the banning of circuses, and I would first like to state that I do not believe in circuses abusing animals and I believe that the laws that have been put in place to prevent this abuse should be upheld.

I am though going to argue against the complete ban against the circus. The circus is a form of entertainment centered around people doing tricks, though some tricks my center around animals there are also many other acts that have nothing to do with the animals, take for instance the iconic trapeze and the tightrope walk.

You can't ban something because of one aspect of it, lets say that that a branch of a tree in your neighbor's yard is in your yard, you wouldn't ask your neighbor to chop the whole tree down, just the offending branch.This can also apply to circuses, because one aspect of the circus has gone rotten we shouldn't remove the whole thing from the picture. Even if you value animal life over human well being (which there is nothing wrong with believe in , but I would like to point out if you have ever eaten meat, a food that is unnecessary for human substance, you haven't really been acting on said beliefs.) there are also a multitude of high quality circuses without a single animal used such as Circus Smirkus and Flying Fruit Fly Circus(1).

Souces Cited:
Debate Round No. 1


Yes I can see where u are coming from when you say that "you can not ban a whole something because of one aspect of it". But exotic animals is also a main part of the whole circus act and many from around the world come to the circus to see these animals do tricks. Plus these circuses are getting revenue and when this happens more shows start which also causes more and more animals doing unnatural tricks. All of this starts a chain reaction which always leads to them getting more money which encourages them to use the animals more often which can eventually kill them because they did not treat them with enough care and necessities. Not to mention treating these animals this way makes them highly aggressive so they are dangerous to handle if need to do so.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently filed an animal abuse complaint against Kelly Miller Circus. Kelly Miller Circus has been entertaining millions of people since it started in 1938. The circus prides itself on being America"s second largest big top show, offering audiences the chance to witness some of the biggest circus stars from many nations as well as lay eyes on an exotic display of animals.The circus "loves" their animals and are very "proud of them." They are considered "friends and fellow performers." But recent allegations of animal abuse witnessed by many people contradict the circus"s claims that these animals are very important members of their team. PETA"s official complaint cited an eyewitness"s report of seeing a handler repeatedly whip zebras during a performance. One of the zebras almost fell out of the ring. Another eyewitness also claimed seeing another handler forcefully striking a small dog on the face. Also, when the camels and zebras were not performing, they were "tied so tightly and close to a trailer they could barely move."


1.Circus animals have the right to be protected and treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act.
2.Tigers naturally fear fire, but they are still forced to jump through fire hoops in some circuses and have been burned while doing so.
3.Circuses are repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Animal Welfare Act for trailers that have splintering wood and sharp, protruding metal pieces near animals' cages.
4.Trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bull hooks and other painful tools of the trade to force animals to perform.
5.In more than 35 dangerous incidents since 2000, elephants have bolted from circuses, run amok through streets, crashed into buildings, attacked members of the public, and killed and injured handlers.



The definition of a circus according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is:"a traveling show that is often performed in a tent and that typically includes trained animals, clowns, acrobats, etc,"(1).

Good and the Bad
There are circuses that abuse their animals to a horrible extent, but there are also many circuses that do not abuse the animals that are inside the acts, I have already proved this in my last argument.

Using the definition of circus in the Webster dictionary we can define different shows that we may not consider a circus as a circus, I would like to toturn our attention sea world. Sea World is a world renounced for there marine life rescues and rehabilitation. They also host shows involving humans doing stunts with different forms of ocean life such as orcas and dolphins. Humans do daring jumps and dives into the water. We can link these stunts to the same stunts as what circus actors perform. But does Sea world abuse animals? No, they do not, sea world has over 28,000 animals from harm proving the exact opposite(2).

You can argue that sea world is not a circus, as it does not travel but if circuses need to travel and we banned circuses then the circuses would just stay in one place and continue to abuse it's animals. The complete banning of the circus would not solve the problem. A better fix would be to uphold the already existing multitude of animal cruelty prevention laws(3).

The Freed Animals
Let us assume that all circuses would be banned. Okay so all good but what happens to the animals that are now free?

Can we send them out back to their homeland in Africa and south America? It sounds like a good idea at first, but we have to realise that the animals were raised in captivity and don't know simple survival skills. Sending the animals out in the wild would be a certain death wish(4).Not to mention if we don't send them in the correct place there is a chance that we could introduce an invasive species into the ecosystem.

We cannot put the animals into the care of humans, the animals already hate humans and do not have good relations from the constant abuse that they had to suffer through. Therefore any rehabilitation effort that involve direct contact to humans would fail due to a lack of animal trust in humans. The rehabilitation efforts that are given through very advanced method would result in the animal being dependant on humans. And the only option for the animals would be a zoo.

Animal rehabilitation also costs a lot, the process of a single animal may take over 2,000 dollars per animal(5) the total price of complete rehabilitation of all the animals may exceed over one million not including the transport of the massive animals to the centers and their new homes.

In Conclusion
The complete ban of circuses would not be the correct thing to do and may not be the correct choice for the animals. Not every circus is bad, and we are punishing the good for what the bad has done. We need to have more checks on the welfare of circus animals and uphold the punishments that have been promised by the law but have not been followed through. Once these laws are shown to be upheld the quality of life for the animals will increase plenty.

Works Cited
Debate Round No. 2


(First off I would just like to stat yes sea world actually does abuse there animals.
Sea World is responsible for the death of thousands of the dolphins and whales they claim to use for public education. That is the thread of the first comprehensive documentary film to explore the sordid history of the captive whale and dolphin display industry. A Fall From Freedom, an 82-minute film, produced by the San Francisco-based Earth Views Productions, includes interviews with scientists, marine mammal biologists, former trainers, activists, and current marine park representatives.Narrated by Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H, Providence), the film digs deep into the history of the captive dolphin and whale industry. Topics covered in the film include:" Sea World representatives secretly promoted the Japanese dolphin drives where thousands of animals are driven to shore and brutally killed, in order to provide their parks with replacement animals " says Dr. John Hall, former Sea World biologist.
Source; )

Anyway back to the topic. Yes I understand that releasing animals could be a harm I'm not saying go and release the animals right off the bat I am saying they can keep the animals they have now but after those die off then don't get anymore ever. But I am saying circuses should be banned because of this inhumane act a majority of then have committed. And I'm also not just focusing on exotic animals some circuses use farm like animals including goats, horses, and etc. Once more if we did ban circuses they would no be around so they could not stay in one place. Not to mention even if the workers would not have a job not many circus performers stay in the circus it is mostly a job for young "rebellious" adults. Even the most world renown circus has been know to abuse there animals. It's so is awful because these animals can not be released in the wild because of the way they train them.

Hoover the tiger. Hoover was saved by Animal Defenders International (ADI) from a Peruvian circus, where undercover footage reveals him being trained with whips and living in a small cage. Sick and emaciated, Hoover was the sole survivor of a group of 12 tigers originally owned by the circus until Peru"s wildlife department, SERFOR, police, and ADI rescued him during a mission to enforce Peru"s ban on wild animals in circuses. The circus attempted to evade the new law by disappearing into the mountains for eight months, but they were eventually tracked down and in a surprise raid, Hoover was saved. He was promptly transferred to the Spirit of Freedom rescue center in Lima and after extensive rehabilitation, he eventually recovered and thrived. He now lives out his days in a natural woodland with his own pool among other rescued tigers at Big Cat Rescue in Florida. " Global Animal

And yes I can see just a ban on wild animal that would actually be perfect. But that hasn't happened yet.

While all circus animals suffer abuse, the animals that belong to the Ringling Brothers and Barnam and Bailey troupe are especially mistreated. The blatant violations of the Animal Welfare Act and deep history of cruelty and misconduct all to rarely come to mind when audiences hear the name "Ringling Brothers and Barnam and Bailey," so let"s for a moment, pull back the curtain and expose what really goes on under the big top.While it may appear that the animals that perform in Ringling Brothers and Barnam and Bailey shows are special breeds that were simply born to thrive in the spotlight and eat up applause, in reality they are not. It is estimated that about 50 percent of the Asian elephants owned by Ringling Brothers and Barnam and Bailey were captured from the wild.The Asian elephant is an endangered species, and while Ringling Brothers and Barnam and Bailey asserts that is runs a comprehensive "conservation" program, not a single elephant born into the circus has ever been released back into the wild " we imagine an elephant that only knows how to balance itself on a bucket would not fair too well in the wild.The illustrious white tigers that the circus parades as a majestic and rare animal, is the result of constant inbreeding to perpetuate the genetic mutation that accounts for white fur. Suffering from the same mutation across generations, all white tigers are cross eyed, and many exhibit club feet, spinal defects, cleft palates, even defective organs.While the origin of the other big cats used in their shows is "unknown," according to Big Cat Rescue, "circus acts are transient and often are a way of moving big cats across state lines or even in and out of the country. Because the endangered species protection acts are so poorly enforced, this transience creates a legal cover for the illegal importation and exportation of exotic cats."Whistleblower, Sam Haddock has first-hand experience training the baby elephants used in Ringling Brothers and Barnam and Bailey"s shows. After over 30 years training elephants for Ringling Brothers and Barnam and Bailey, Haddock was compelled to report the abuse, providing detailed insight into the process in a declaration, that can be read in-full here. Haddock shared his experience with PETA, along with detailed photos documenting the abuse. The process he explains is as follows.At the age of 18-22 months, babies are removed from their mothers (who are forcibly restrained to prevent them from acting out to try and rescue their babies) and anchored to one another by ropes that are fastened around their necks. They then enter a six-month "breaking" process where their legs are tied together and they are forced to stand still for 23 hours a day. This process hinders every natural instinct a young elephant may have, and their days are spent in pain and anguish, deprived of the basic ability to even sit down for hours on end. By the end of these excruciating six months, these elephants lose all willingness to fight back and enter into the training process.Using bull hooks, ropes, electric prods, and even fireplace pokers, elephants are forced to bow, lie down on command, and balance on their hind legs. This process is hidden completely from the public and is wholly unmonitored by any federal, state, or local entity.At least 30 elephants, including 4 babies have died since 1992, 2004, a 2-year old lion died from heatstroke when the circus train traversed the Mojave desert. And a number of endangered elephants have been euthanized after sustaining injuries in training or during fcv9performances.There is also a history of trainer endangerment. In 1993, an elephant killed her trainer, crushing him with her foot. A number of trainers have been hospitalized after sustaining full-body injuries, cuts, and bites.And the abuse and criminal activity does not end with animals, there is a long record of drug trafficking, aggravated assault, sexual abuse, and rape in the line of employees Ringling Brothers and Barnam and Bailey has on their payroll. Clearly the misogynistic drive to abuse and torture living beings is not solely reserved for animals.


I will begin this round by stating that I will only rebut Pro's original thoughts, because more than 3/4th of her arguments in rounds 2 and 3 are copy pasted from her sources. This copy pasted information proves nothing except for the fact that animals are abused, which I have already conceded to in round 1.

The Animal Abuse and Money Loop?
Summery(R2): Animals make the circus more money which prompts them to get more animals which gets them more money ect.

Pro has proved that circuses are being investigated in your source about Hoover the Tiger(1) And through my argument I have repeatedly stood up for the extension of animal cruelty laws such as in my 3rd source in round 2 which will cite again for my reader's benefit(2). Also circus' do not get very much money, the upper circus performers get only $70,000 per year(3); meanwhile an average computer programmer makes $77,000 per year(4).

Pro's Blunt Inaccuracy
Direct Quotation(R3): "Not to mention even if the workers would not have a job not many circus performers stay in the circus it is mostly a job for young "rebellious" adults."

This is a very unprofessional argument. Most circus workers age from 18-26, so the young part could be considered correct, but rebellious? Some workers like to do stunts, and some people like to act; if these people just do what they want to do, how would they be rebellious? Also there are entire families on board circus trains, which is the complete opposite of "young rebellious adults". By banning circuses we would be displacing these people from their home(5)

Pro's Massive Concessions
Direct Quotation(with some grammatical edits)(R3):"I am saying they can keep the animals they have now, but after those die off don't get anymore ever."

Here Pro concedes to the fact that we should not ban circuses, but instead that we sould put in laws to stop ciruses from getting more animals. This concession further supports my case of the strengthening of laws to protect animals.

Direct Quotation(R3):"It's so is awful because these animals can not be released in the wild because of the way they train them."

Here Pro concedes that the animals inside the circus cannot be released back into the wild, which supports the entire second half of my argument in round 2.

Direct Quotation(R3):"And yes I can see just a ban on wild animal[In the circus] that would actually be perfect."

Pro may not have realised this, but she just conceded the entire presime of her side of the debate. the debate topic is "Should Circuses Be Banned" and by conceding to the fact that that the complete ban may not be right, she breaks apart her side of the debate. But by saying this statement Pro has just agreed that my argument is better solution that what she should is arguing.

Pro's Contradictions
Direct quotation(R3):"It's so is awful because these animals can not be released in the wild because of the way they train them."

Pro then goes on to cite source when a single circus animal(1) was saved, clearly contradicting what she just said.

Direct quotation(R2):"But exotic animals is also a main part of the whole circus act"
Direct quotation(R3):"And I'm also not just focusing on exotic animals some circuses use farm like animals including goats, horses, and etc."

Here Pro contradicts herself by focusing on exotic animals in round 2, then coming back and saying she is not in R3. Also the so called farm animal could not go to a farm because of their poor relation with humans, so the second quote is not relevant and is clearly arbitrary.

Pro's Warped Logic
Direct quotation(R3):"But I am saying circuses should be banned because of this inhumane act a majority of them have committed."

Here Pro is trying to argue for the ban of circuses because of what a majority of them have done this. This is not how our criminal justice system works, you cannot punish a group for what some have done. We have always punished individuals instead of groups so this logic is clearly flawed. By banning all circuses for what some have does undermines our entire justice system.

In Conclusion
Pro does not argue her given point and gave me massive concessions. Pro uses warped logic and contradictions to try to argue her point, this is clearly not helping her argument. Pro makes blatant assumptions about circus income and the type of people working at circuses. In round 3 Pro agreed with my argument, conceding her entire side of the argument. She also does not refute my argument in rebuttal round.

For these reasons I urge you to vote Con, over to Pro

Debate Round No. 3


To finish my argument I am just going to say yes maybe all circuses shouldn't be banned but they should not be around any longer if they are using abuse animals. Also I believe that there should be something done about that because it is promoting animal abuse. Thank you for having this debate it was very enjoyable.


I would firstly like to thank galaxxi for having this debate with me, it was a very enjoyable debate and ii learned a few things from it.

In conclusion circuses should not be banned, There are circuses that do not abuse animals and banning all circuses would punish people that do not deserve it. We also should not ban circuses because the animals that we get from the newly banned circuses would be a very expensive hassle to deal with. Circuses should be a legalised form of entertainment.

Thank you, I urge you to vote for Con. Please have an RFD.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Reaper2570 1 year ago
I have thoroughly all of pro's citations and have confirmed that she has copy pasted practically all her arguments. Also, she practically says con's argument is better so I am supporting con.
Posted by SpelunkingSamurai 1 year ago
I was going to accept this debate but it seemed pointless. Maybe forcing the animals to perform should be banned, maybe the laws should just be overhauled, but either way there's no good reason to outright ban circuses entirely. Even if circuses weren't allowed to use animals, there would still be tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, clowns ect. In fact, there are circuses today known as 'contemporary circuses', like Cirque du Soleil, that only use human performers. If you were to ban circuses, you'd be putting these guys out of a job for no reason.

So the entire premise of Pro's argument is flawed from the start. The topic should have been 'should circuses be banned from using animal performers?' instead.
Posted by EXOPrimal 1 year ago
Sorry about my mediocre first round, i typed up up hastily it up on my phone, I formatted the second round better. Good Luck!
Posted by Bluemooncloud1 1 year ago
I agree with the instigator
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded her position in the final round.