When I heard that The Traveling Avrasya Circus had come to town, I wanted to go for three reasons. The first was to practice my photography skills, the second was to blog about it and the third reason was to relive childhood memories.
I soon learnt that practising your photography skills at the circus is a big mistake unless you are a professional and you actually know what you are doing. (Hence the bad photographs) I also learned that from being a kid to present day, the concept of a circus has changed dramatically.
The Circus Animals
I last saw a traveling circus nearly 25 years ago and I remember a wide variety of circus acts and animals. My childhood memories cast me back to watching clumsy elephants, ferocious tigers, colorful birds and performing dogs.
The Avrasya Circus that I saw last week, had a variety of acts from the juggler to the clown to the trapeze artist. Blatantly missing though, was the presence of any circus animals that normally entertain the crowds. The only type of animal that was present was two snakes and if you want to get down to details, they could be classed more as reptiles.
The History of the Circus in Turkey
My good friend Stewart mentioned that he had seen the same circus two years ago and performing for the crowds were tigers, birds and dogs. The disappearance of animals in the Avrasya circus prompted me to try and find out the stance of Turkey on the traditional traveling circus. I struggled to find any information and it seems that the circus is not a widely known entertainment act in Turkey anyway. I was still eager to investigate further though on the traditional circus throughout the rest of the world.
Will The Traditional Circus Become a Thing of the Past?
As I remember what I have read on the internet, it seems future generations will never see the traditional circus with animal acts. It will eventually become an event confined to the history books as more and more animal cruelty organizations are formed and the leaders of our world listen to them. Quite a few countries in the world have already banned the use of animals in entertainment and it is safe to assume that many other countries will follow suit.
The new concept of the circus will be one of mainly performing acts but it would be unfair to start calling it anything else , other than what it has been known as for hundreds of years. There will still be the ringmaster, the big top, trapeze artists, popcorn and all the other highlights that we associate with a circus.
Is the Circus Morally Wrong or Educational?
Once I had come to the conclusion that the traditional circus would soon vanish from our social customs and traditions, I had to ask myself if society would be losing anything. My answer is that they would lose nothing. People who put forward the argument that a circus is educational would find themselves up for debate.
In a zoo, children do have the chance to be educated and interact with the animals. Zoo keepers can inform children about the animal’s habitat, diet and routine. The child can be monitored while they interact with an animal in a way that is not intrusive. In a circus, people can do none of this.
The animals are purely there to make them giggle, be amazed and laugh. It is strictly entertainment value and therefore the argument that circus animal acts are morally wrong is a weighty one. To hang on to the idea of performing animals simply because of age-old social traditions is wrong.
When was the last time you saw a traveling circus with animal acts?
What is your stance on the traditional circus?
Do you think the disappearance of this social tradition will be missed?