According to Europol an elephant dies every 15 minutes at the hand of poachers and it's been estimated there are now fewer lions in the whole of Africa than black cabs in London. These facts break my heart - we cannot let our grandchildren grow up in a world where these beguiling creatures no long roam wild by confining them to the history books.
In an increasingly sanitised and digitalised age, the interaction of trainer and animal in the sawdust circle provides something real and raw that no other form of entertainment can offer. Rather than demeaning animals, it impresses all ages with their skill and intelligence, and enhances our relationship with nature.
That little is known about circus training is unsurprising - a magician doesn't spoil his illusions with a banal explanation. But the secrecy of the circus community has fuelled suspicion of cruelty. It's human nature to distrust those who live differently from us and to apply sinister connotations to things we don't understand.