As lead vocalist of Chicago, Ill. punk four-piece Rise Against, longtime animal advocate Tim McIlrath is no stranger to the spotlight, stepping up nightly to perform under bright lights. But as he’s quick to point out for peta2, animals aren’t lucky enough to make that choice. For animals in entertainment, their fate is decided for them. That’s why McIlrath is calling for a boycott of SeaWorld, Ringling Bros., and other companies that turn a profit by abusing orcas, elephants, and other animals forced to perform at aquariums, in circuses, and at theme parks.

As McIlrath explains to peta2, “I make a choice every time I take the stage. I choose to perform. Animals in captivity don’t get to make that choice.” In the entertainment industry, orcas are often separated from their families and forced to live in tiny concrete tanks that, to them, are no bigger than a bathtub. Their average life expectancy shrinks from 30 to 50 years in the wild to barely surviving past their teenage years in captivity.

During circus training, baby elephants are often stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods. When elephants and big cats aren’t on stage, they’re kept caged or chained for up to 23 hours a day, a gross injustice to animals who are naturally known to roam for miles every day.

Animals deserve a life that’s better than this. They deserve to live free, not as slaves for our entertainment.

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