Entertainment or Exploitation?

Circus animals performing earlier this year in Monaco

Fourteen-year-old Amanda Gorman says making animals perform for circuses is like enslaving or imprisoning them.

“Haven’t we already learned that lesson as humans that things deserve to be free?” she says.

Twelve-year-old Kylie Eichberg disagrees.

“I think it’s fair that we use animals in entertainment because it’s socialization for them,” she says.  “And also, they like to do it.”

Who’s right?

Amanda or Kylie?

Both of them?

Or neither of them?

That’s for you to decide, after you watch the new “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee” half-hour special, “Animals?  Show Me the Money.”

The show premieres Sunday, August 12th (Eastern/Pacific) on Nickelodeon.

On the one hand, research has shown that zoo animals often live longer than animals in the wild.

“These animals get a good nutritional diet and we have great veterinarians and zookeepers who constantly have an eye on them.  And definitely, they don’t have predators here,” says 15-year-old Shreya Sirivolu, a volunteer at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio.  “I feel like the animals have a better life here.”

But on the other, experts have found that animals such as elephants can feel sad and lonely in a zoo — especially if they don’t have company of their own kind.

“It’s like putting lipstick on pig,” says 12-year-old Reese Doyle.  “It’s still a prison.”

Is rodeo is legitimate sport?

Or is it a form of animal cruelty?

“Rodeo’s a really big American tradition,” says 13-year-old Quincy Segelke.  “I’ve been competing in rodeos since I was four years old.”

“When I see a rodeo, it makes me feel angry,” 16-year-old Gillian Robertson says.  “The very nature of rodeo is cruel.”

And what about the dolphins and other marine mammals that perform at parks such as Sea World?

“People come thinking that they’re going to be entertained,” 13-year-old Trevor Wolf says.  “But they leave being educated.”

Fourteen-year-old Hunter Shaffer disagrees.

“It is a bit like seeing your favorite celebrity in prison,” he says.

It’s hard to know for sure what the animals themselves think about all this.

But we do know that animals can think — and feel.

And those thoughts and feelings deserve our consideration — no matter which side of the argument we’re on.

So be sure to tune in on Sunday, August 12th at 9p.m. (Eastern/Pacific), for the premiere of “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee:  Animals?  Show Me the Money” on Nickelodeon.

(If you live in a different time zone, check your local cable TV listings to find out what time the show will be on in your community.)

Then decide what you think is right.