A crocodile lashed out and bit a handler’s face during a circus show in Vietnam a few days ago.
According to sources, the man was in the process of performing the surprisingly common trick of sticking his head inside a crocodile’s mouth when the reptile attacked him. The man sustained severe injuries.
This incident is yet another example of why animals don’t belong in circuses.
Crocodiles are fascinating and intelligent animals who use tools, cooperate in communities, and protect their young.
To force animals to do meaningless and physically uncomfortable tricks, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, and other weapons.
A PETA investigation in Thailand found that critically endangered orangutans were forced to perform in confusing, degrading boxing matches and stage shows, and abuse and suffering on a massive scale has been documented in circuses in China. These kinds of spectacles make a mockery of these intelligent and sensitive animals.
Frustrated by years of beatings and shackles, some animals snap—with deadly consequences. When animals retaliate against the abuse, trainers cannot protect themselves, let alone the public. In 2011, an 11-year-old girl was trampled and killed when she tried to feed a chained elephant in a traveling circus in Vietnam. In China, a tiger mauled an 8-year-old girl to death in front of horrified onlookers.
As more people become aware of the cruelty involved in forcing animals to perform, circuses that use animals are finding fewer places to set up their big tops. Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Greece, Mexico, Singapore, and many other countries around the world have banned or are in the process of banning wild-animal acts.