Circus animals are forced to survive in an environment that meets none of their needs. Cramped cages, the sensation of being trapped, the impossibility of forming a balanced social group or developing the wide range of behaviours typical of its species are all factors that cause suffering and make the animal's existence especially difficult.
In addition to this forced captivity is the submission to often violent training that is always contrary to the animal's instincts. The purpose of training is to force the animal into submission and adopt a posture or behaviour that goes against its instincts. This training is based on a cruel and horribly simple technique: the pain inflicted by the trainer if the animal refuses must be greater than that felt when performing these degrading acts. The elephant, bear, or chimpanzee resigns itself to performing as required by the human through fear of the intense pain of blows. Instruments such as spikes or ankuses, used to "discipline" elephants, are repeatedly used to give the animal violent and painful reminders of what awaits them if they refuse to perform.
The animal's reaction to these conditions of captivity and coercion are primarily:
�- Loss of will and abnormal behaviour: the animal sinks into a depressed state, becomes passive and demonstrates behavioural disorders such as licking the bars of its cage (primates and wildcats), shifting from one foot to another (also known as "weaving") (elephants, hippopotamuses), incessant pacing (felines), head-bobbing (elephants, bears), self-mutilation (primates, parrots), etc.