Why Cavalia, a Not-So-Traditional Horse Show, Is The Exception To My Anti-Circus Rule

Cavalia Horses
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I can’t wait to attend Cavalia, the Canadian circus-like spectacular, in March. The show features meticulously trained horses who demonstrate just how close the human-animal bond can be.

Unfortunately, many animal rights activists have denounced such performances, likening them to traditional circuses that exploit animals. But when I witnessed Cavalia’s event last February, it was my take that this show was an exception to that rule. The event was nothing like a traditional circus because the horses are domesticated animals, not wild creatures who need room to roam and get easily stressed in human company.

I can't say the same of many traditional circuses.

Even if traditional circuses treated animals in the most humane manner possible, the less-than-serene atmosphere of a circus environment — along with lots of stressful travel — is not suited to animals whose natures are not conducive to the excitement of a public event and whose basic health is undermined each time they’re forced to move. I also believe it's disrespectful to force wild animals into this kind of human servitude. And although circuses can entertain children, I personally believe it can’t do kids any good to see beautiful animals treated as nothing more than trainable objects of amusement.

It’s sometimes claimed that zoos are every bit as mercenary in their treatment of animals. But zoos offer redeeming value to society and animals themselves. Education efforts and the benefits of captive breeding programs can outweigh the negative effects that result from some captive conditions.

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