Animal rights charities have called for a ban on animals being forced to perform in circuses after an elephant went out of control and nearly trampled a load of people in Germany.
The circus in Osnabruck is called Circus Krone and it is the largest circus to keep performing animals in the country. Opponents say that keeping wild animals and forcing them to perform in front of crowds is cruel.
The elephant, who was carrying a woman on its back can be seen in a video of the incident charging towards the crowd and knocking another woman out of the way.
Miraculously, no-one was seriously hurt in the incident, but one person has been treated for minor abrasions after an encounter with the gigantic beast.
The elephant sustained a swollen leg in the incident, but after a short break, the show resumed as normal.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have called the incident “inevitable” and said that keeping animals from different families and areas is not safe, especially if they are made to perform.
The elephants are also often poked with big sharp sticks called bullhooks, according to the charity.
PETA tweeted the video of the incident to their Twitter, accompanied by the caption: “Heartbreaking video taken during #CircusKrone shows an elephant shoved into a group of spectators and then crashing to the ground. Two other elephants were involved.”
The head of the circus, Jana Mandana, said that disputes between animals are ‘natural and normal’ and that animals ‘argue regularly’.
Exactly how natural it is for them to be galloping around in a tent with people riding on their back is not clear.
She said: “It’s natural and normal in a group, because the hierarchy changes also sometimes”
Hmm, OK then.
Most countries in Europe have a complete ban on making animals perform in circuses, but France, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland still allow them to be used, despite growing pressure for them to introduce a ban.
This isn’t the first time the circus has had trouble with their animals, either. Last month, another elephant broke free from the circus and walked through a residential area in Germany. Luckily, nobody was hurt in this instance either, and the elephant was recovered.
Circus Krone is currently touring 30 cities in Germany with their summer show, ‘Evolution’.
Here’s hoping that they can evolve a show that doesn’t rely on cruelly forcing animals to perform in the near future.