The University of Bristol (2009) concurred that the physical and behavioural impacts are significant on animals. Unfortunately the authors do not include ALL animals. This study has had some effect with some local councils banning circus that include performing animals.
Here's some key findings of this paper for you:
"A comprehensive synopsis of the welfare of captive, wild (ie non-domesticated) animals in travelling circuses is missing. We examined circus animal welfare and, specifically, behaviour, health, living and travelling conditions. We compared the conditions of non-domesticated animals in circuses with their counterparts kept in zoos.
Data on circus animals were very scarce; where data were absent, we inferred likely welfare implications based on zoo data. Circus animals spent the majority of the day confined, about 1-9% of the day performing/training and the remaining time in exercise pens. Exercise pens were significantly smaller than minimum zoo standards for outdoor enclosures. Behavioural budgets were restricted, with circus animals spending a great amount of time performing stereotypies, especially when shackled or confined in beast wagons. A higher degree of stereotyping in circuses may be indicative of poorer welfare. Inadequate diet and housing conditions, and the effects of repeated performances, can lead to significant health problems.
Circus animals travel frequently and the associated forced movement, human handling, noise, trailer movement and confinement are important stressors. Although there is no conclusive evidence as to whether animals habituate to travel, confinement in beast wagons for long timeperiods is a definite welfare concern. Circuses have a limited ability to make improvements, such as increased space, environmental enrichment and appropriate social housing.
Consequently, we argue that non-domesticated animals, suitable for circus life, should exhibit low space requirements, simple social structures, low cognitive function, non-specialist ecological requirements and an ability to be transported without adverse welfare effects. None of the commonest species exhibited by circuses, such as elephants and large felids, currently meet these criteria. We conclude that the species of non-domesticated animals commonly kept in circuses appear the least suited to a circus life."
Whilst not inclusive nor supportive of non-animal circuses in total, at least it's a start.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
AnimalsAustralia is a fantastic source of ideas and campaigns for the rights of our animals. Currently they have an online campaign running to stop a zoo from handing over 2 lion cubs to a circus! (can you believe it)
Here's a few links and ideas
Join the online campaign Help save Spike and Spot from life in a circus' then Send this campaign to friends.
Take the pledge not to support exotic animal circuses . The most entertaining circus productions rely exclusively on the skills of talented human performers, proving that you don't need cruelty to make a great circus ;Cirque du Soleil ,Circus Oz ,Circus Sunrise The Flying Fruit Fly Circus will have you enthralled, so look out for these and other non-animal acts when they visit a town near you!
Write to your council and state government to demand a ban on exotic animals in circuses.
If you want to get active and know of an exotic animal circus coming to your town, download the circus campaign pack and/or write a letter to the editor of your local paper, or speak on talk-back radio about the cruelty involved in animal circuses and why they should be banned.
Support Animals Australia's lifesaving work and model it for your own areas.
Thank you again for creating a kinder world for animals.