Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Review Article Open Access

Circus Animal Welfare: analysis through a five-domain approach

Daniel Mota-Rojas, Marcelo Daniel Ghezzi, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Leonardo Thielo de la Vega, Luciano Boscato-Funes, Fabiola Torres-Bernal, Patricia Mora-Medina

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This study aims to review the current available literature regarding circus animals from the perspective of the five domains proposed for evaluating animal welfare to identify the critical points in the use of these animals and understand how circus spectacles affect their mental state and health. Exhibiting animals in circuses continues to be a popular practice today in some countries such as Germany, Spain, or Australia. However, animals’ biological needs are not always prioritized due to the inadequate diets, reduced housing spaces, deficient social interaction, and handling that predisposes them to develop stereotypies and alter mental states due to chronic stress. Animal circuses are considered a controversial practice that can decrease the welfare of animals. Understanding the possible negative consequences on animal welfare (mental state and physical health) could contribute to planning strategies to improve the quality of life of wildlife animals exhibited in circuses worldwide.


animal ethics, keeper-animal relationships, mental alteration, pathological behaviors, stereotypies


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