The welfare of Ringling Bros.' elephants has long been a topic of concern. But a new report says that the circus's big cats could be suffering just as badly.
Jay Pratte, an animal trainer with 25 years of experience, recently observed two performances of the Ringling Bros. circus in Lincoln, Nebraska. What he saw was a nightmare for tigers, he said.
"The announcers, trainers, and staff state that the animals are managed with rewards and through trust," Pratte noted in his report, which was published by PETA. "However, what is actually occurring is environmental and physiological neglect, psychological abuse, and coercing the tigers to behave through dominance and fear-based techniques."
While Ringling Bros. touts its training methods as humane and animal-friendly, Pratte said, they were anything but. "The big cats ... are managed through fear, coercion, and punishment," he explained.