Circuses used to mean animals being forced to perform tricks in cruel conditions, but thankfully this has slowly been phased out, with more and more circuses focusing on acts where the performers have the choice to participate.
Circus Roncalli in Germany is the latest to rid their shows of live animals entirely, and have taken it a step further by replacing them with holograms. Animal holograms including elephants, zebra and fish appear in amazing colours and move around the arena as decoration.
The media director of Circus Roncalli, Markus Strobl, said of the decision to make the switch: "Most of the numbers in the show would already be done by the artists and clowns today anyway. The focus of the Circus Roncalli is on poetic and acrobatic numbers,"
He commented that the switch was an animal rights decision as well as a logistical one, as the circus performs in city centres and town halls where it's difficult to house animals.
Animal Defenders International president Jan Creamer said this is "the future of the circus,"
"Thankfully the public is voting with their feet, and increasingly visiting shows where the performers get to choose instead of being forced to perform. This is the future of circus - a performance everyone can enjoy and for which intelligent, sentient beings are not used and depicted as objects of entertainment," she said.
Last month across the UK there was a total ban on using wild animals in circuses, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove commenting on May 1st:
"Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals in the 21st century and I am pleased that this legislation will put an end to this practice for good. Today's announcement follows other measures we have taken to strengthen our position as a world leader on animal protection,"
Hopefully more circuses follow suit worldwide!