Interesting Facts about Circus

  • In the last 250 years, how long they exist, there happened some interesting things that could be said about modern circuses – some positive and some negative:
  • Many ancient civilizations like Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Greek, Roman, Norse, Aztec and Polynesian knew about juggling.
  • There are eight variants of tightrope walking: tightwire, highwire, slackwire, skywalk, slacklining, freestyle slacklining, funambule, and jultagi (Korean tradition).
  • The first modern circus was opened in 1768 by Philip Astley but some say that circuses as a way of public entertainment originate from ancient Rome and their “circuses”.
  • The first modern circus appeared in the United States in Philadelphia in 1793 and its owner was Englishman John Bill Ricketts.
  • USSR opened its State University of Circus and Variety Arts (or the Moscow Circus School) in 1927.
  • J. Purdy Brown was the first to place a circus inside a large tent - “big top”. He did it in 1825.
  • “Circo Atayde” is the oldest still running circus in the world. It was founded on August 26 1888 in the Plaza de Toros, Mazatlán, Mexico and is still run by the same family - Atayde.
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  • Contemporary circus, as we know it today, appeared for the first time in 1970s. It's a combination of classic circus and theater.
  • Some estimations are that there are around 20,000 clowns in the world.
  • Circus performers consider whistling and eating peanuts backstage a bad luck. For good luck they carry hair from an elephant tail in their pocket.
  • Circuses are often accused of mistreatment of animals.
  • United States have around 12,000 circuses with animals. Less than 100 U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors are assigned to monitor them.
  • Animals in circuses spend around 96% of their time chained or caged.
  • Caged animals often show signs of repetitive behavior like obsessive swaying, bobbing, and rocking. These happen because of high stress and boredom of these animals that starts to affect them. Elephant's for instance spend 10 hours a day, averagely, in this kind of behavior
  • Most of the animals in circuses spend around 11 months a year on the road, in box cars and cramped. Because they don't move enough they develop arthritis and other joint problems.
  • Animal trainers in circuses use bullhooks, whips, and electric prods to train animals to do tricks.
  • There are laws that protect animals in traveling shows but they are inadequate and poorly enforced.
  • Circuses mostly use animals that were captured in wild and taken from their habitat.
  • Many circuses lease their animals seasonally from dealers. Because of that, some circuses don't provide regular, competent veterinary care. It is cheaper that way.
  • Animals are during transport often deprived of food and water for extended periods of time.
  • Cages in which tigers are kept are averagely 5 m2 in area.
  • A law that will ban the use of all wild animals in circuses will be put in force by the end of 2015 but only in England.
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