The Exploitation of Big Cats in Traveling Shows

Learn more about how you can help big cats exploited for entertainment in traveling shows.

The Use of Big Cats in Traveling Shows

The use of big cats for entertainment including in circuses, fairs, and traveling shows compromises animal health and welfare, puts the public at risk, and may adversely affect true conservation efforts. The cats are often subjected to intensive confinement, prolonged travel, abusive training, and deprivation of all that is natural to them.

The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance opposes the use of big cats for any type of entertainment. You can read our full position paper on big cats in entertainment here.


Photograph courtesy of Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

What can you do to help?:

  • Please report scheduled fairs/circuses/traveling shows that are coming to your area and exhibiting wild cats at:
  • Write letters to the editors of your local newspaper(s).
  • Contact the venue hosting the big cat act to let them know that you don’t support the exploitation of big cats at their event.
  • Contact your local legislators and ask for legislation banning traveling shows that include exotic animals on the local and/or state level.
  • Share what you have learned with your friends and family.
  • Support Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance Member sanctuaries instead!
      • Did you know that more than half of BCSA Member sanctuaries are not open to the public (with the exception of sometimes one small, reservation only event for a few hours a year). The remaining member sanctuaries have limited tour hours and days.
      • The cats have large enclosures with plenty of spaces to hide if they don’t want to be seen and many forms of enrichment.
      • They are never taken off-site except for emergencies and/or veterinary procedures.
      • The wild cat residents at our member sanctuaries are never handled and protected contact is always practiced – with a barrier between staff/volunteers and the cats at all times with the exception of veterinary care.

Tigers hiding (from left to right) at Carolina Tiger Rescue, Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary, Keepers of the Wild, and Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary.