Well, they are generally used to beat the animal into submission, and there was one instance where an animal didnt perform correctly and was taken outside and beaten by five people. It's bad enough that these animals live in spaces WAY to small for them, and then the beatings??? Really??? Personnally, I think it should be banned, I will try to have a pettion to ban them SOON!!!
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The reason that these animals are beaten is that the people think that if they beat these animals they can scare them into submission. One instance is where a trainer drove a bullhook through the elephants ear!!!! If that isnt animal cruelty, I dont know what is. In order to cover up the scars (and holes in the case stated above) the cirus uses "wonder dust" which covers the animals injuries up so that the public doesn't see the injustice that these animals suffer. Once my petition comes out, PLEASE SIGN!!! It could help all those innocent elephants.