As I have gotten older (I am only 29), I have grown not to really care for things like the circus, Sea World, and to a lesser extent zoos.
I'm not a huge fan of the circus either. I took my girlfriend's kids to the circus last year, and I was actually excited to go myself. But, after I saw how they made the animals perform--never again.
At one of the photo studios here in L.A., there's a large black and white print of a tiger diving into a swimming pool. The photographer is underwater, with his camera in an underwater housing, and the point-of-view is the tiger diving right toward you. It's an impressive shot for a number of reasons:
1. The difficulty and expense of producing the shoot.
2. The personal risk involved in getting the shot.
3. The beauty of the animal.
4. The "stunt" the animal performs.
5. The "underwater-ness" of it.
Before I read the article, and others' posts here, I previously believed that the use of "rental" animals was a wholly legitimate part of the commercial photography and motion picture business. Certainly, misrepresenting work for a contest entry is a no-no, but shooting a commercial or ad which requires animals, I thought, was fine. Now, I see it a bit differently, perhaps not too differently from how I now see the circus. Directing wild animals for commercial purposes (or even artistic purposes, as above) could be argued as a form of exploitation.
. . . my father took us on a family trip to southern Mexico. he paid for all of us to "swim with the dolphins". After seeing the facility, i was against the idea, but due to their being no refunds and my much younger brothers' excitement, I went along with it. To this day, i will never forget the look of dejection and the attitudes of the normally playful creatures.
I've been lucky enough to swim with the dolphins in the wild on the southern shores of the Big Island of Hawaii (and with the sharks, too, in Bora Bora). I've seen the "pay-to-play" dolphin pens at the hotels, and like the circus, I'm not a big fan of those either.