When I was about 14, I had the opportunity to see a show that no longer exists. Although it had been around for 146 years, the Barnum & Bailey circus finally closed its doors in 2017.
And although there were protesters standing outside of the event when I went, I didn't really grasp the stark ethical issues inherent in the traditional circus model until years later.
At the time, the claims of animal abuse seemed dependent on individual trainers, but I've since come to learn that essentially every elephant that has ever performed in a circus has experienced shocking treatment when they were babies.
According to National Geographic, a program called a "training crush" involves training elephants to raise feet on command by stabbing them with nails on sticks and beating them if they make any mistakes. This goes on for weeks.
This information inspires enough outrage about these kinds of circuses to edge them closer to being a thing of the past. But what happens to the elephants that still remain in circuses?