Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
30 January 2000 Issue

Students Speak Out Against Circus Cruelty
Source: UNITED ANIMAL NATIONS, [email protected]

Sixth Graders Win Nationwide Essay Contest

SACRAMENTO, California (Jan. 24) - United Animal Nations, a national animal advocacy and rescue group, today awarded Mikayla Schramm, a sixth-grader from Santa Fe, Texas, first place in the group's nationwide essay contest on circus cruelty. Bethany James, a sixth-grader from Swain, New York, was the second place finisher in the contest.

UAN sponsored the contest to help generate awareness among young students, many of whom are taken to circuses by family members or school groups, about the abusive training methods and horrible living and traveling conditions that circus animals endure. Both Mikayla and Bethany had learned about the horrors of circus life from media reports and from doing their own research and were hoping to educate other young students with their essays. "I thought other twelve-year-olds would learn if they heard about it from someone their own age," said Mikayla.

UAN Executive Director Deanna Soares said the winning entries were selected for their vivid descriptions of how depressing and difficult circus life is for the animals and for their obvious compassion for the elephants and other animals who are forced to perform. "These essays should serve as a wakeup call, not just for students but for all parents, teachers and adults who are considering taking their children to a circus that uses animals."

Mikayla will receive a $50 check and both winners will receive a special "elephant gift pack," including t-shirt and photo book, for their prizes. In addition, both essays will be published in the upcoming issue of the UAN Journal, which is distributed to 20,000 members of United Animal Nations nationwide. For more information about United Animal Nations, visit or contact UAN, P.O. Box 188890, Sacramento, CA 95818, Tel: (916) 429-2457.

(Copies of the winning essays are included below.)

"Animals Don't Belong in Circuses Because ."
By Mikayla Schramm, Santa Fe, Texas

Circus animals are enslaved, tortured and made to perform dangerous tricks against their will. All you have to do is look at circus animals and you can see how very sad they are. They have a blank look because they have no spirit. They are empty shells of what were once magnificent creatures.

Circus workers know the animal cruelty laws but they disobey them and the USDA hardly ever does anything about it. Circus workers say they love their animals but they don't because they beat and torture them. They lie about how cruel they are to the poor animals.

Imagine how you would feel if you had to watch your mother being beaten every day. What if you had to see and hear her wailing, crying and begging for mercy while the people you hate beat her? Imagine how hopeless you would feel if you couldn't help her.

Circus tigers and elephants never get to swim in pools, monkeys never get to climb trees or stay in a troop and bears never have the comfort of a den. Babies are never with their mothers for very long and they are taken away before they are weaned so they feel extremely lonely. Circus animals never have the choice of what they are going to eat or when they will be able to move. Circus elephants are chained, they don't even get to lie down to sleep and they look like zombies.

I have cried thinking about the horrible abuse circus animals have to go through every day. They all have to perform their tricks without consent or pay and they never get to retire. They just die an agonizing death or get killed. It's terrible elephants and other animals are in circuses, my heart aches for them.

"Animals Don't Belong In Circuses Because ."
By Bethany James, Swain, New York

Animals don't belong in circuses because they are born in the wild and that is where they want and should be.

No animal is happy in a circus. I saw a TV show on circus animals. The keepers kicked, whipped and threw the animals. A baby monkey named Trudy is now scared of all people because her owner beat her for no reason. The same lady beat her elephants, monkeys, and other animals. She was caught doing these things and was fined and arrested. The animals were taken care of by people who help traumatized animals. But because of a lady, Trudy will never be the same.

Some of the things people make elephants do are unbelievable. Like when they make elephants stand on a ball. That is like making a person stand on a marble. When the circuses travel they put the animals in cages. No one, person or animals, likes to be in a cage. People think that circuses are fun. But they don't think about what these poor animals have to endure for their entertainment.

People take animals out of the wild where they belong, put them in circuses, don't think about the animal's needs or wants, they just think about the money that these poor traumatized animals are going to make for them. You can tell that animals aren't happy in cages. They pace back and forth because the cages are too small and they can't do anything. There is hardly room for them to sleep.

When the animals are being trained, the trainers use whips, hooks and other tools to punish animals.

If you are considering taking your family to a circus, please consider what these poor traumatized animals go through just so you can see them do tricks.

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