In 2009, Bolivia showed the world the right path when it comes to circus animals - they banned them! All animals, domestic and wild, have been banned from being used and exploited in the Bolivian circus industry. They are the first country to include domestic animals in their ban.
Animals do not belong in circuses. Period. End of story. Done. It's embarrassing that the United States hasn't done the same.
Recently, four of those animals arrived at a sanctuary in California, PAWS. The lions had spent their entire life in a small, metal cage. They had never touched grass or truly stretched their limbs. They have been deprived of so much, and you can tell how tentative and intrigued they are by what should be normal occurrences - grass, other lions, freedom.
We can do better than circuses. They exist for entertainment. That is not reason enough to exploit, abuse, kill, or otherwise use animals. It just is not.
The film is a tear-jerker for me, because the reactions of the lions is exactly the same as hens from the egg industry I've personally helped rescue. They live 1.5 -2 years in cages so small they cannot stretch their wings. To see them touch grass for the first time, run, flap their wings, interact in a normal fashion with other birds - it's both heart-breaking and uplifting at the same time. We do so much harm to other species, these small measured acts of kindness can mean so much and hopefully create true, meaningful change for the animals.