One German circus is taking a stand against animal cruelty in its industry, and has replaced all its animals with holograms.
Circus Roncalli has been travelling Europe since 1976 – with live animals – but recently decided it was time to lead the change.
In a world first, projectors and lasers will bring elephants, horses and monkeys to the Big Top, which has been strategically redesigned to give audiences a 3D-view of the arena.
The inclusion of animals in live circus shows has long been accepted as an outdated practice.
As reported by German newspaper RP Online, the German circus took to using only domestic horses in its shows. Until recently, when they made the decision to stop using animals altogether.
The media director of the circus, Markus Strobl, spoke to the publication earlier this year about their decision to convert to holographic performances.
"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."
The holograms have a mesmerising effect, giving the impression of larger than life animals taking centre stage in the ring.
Now, trapeze artists and clowns exist alongside a wide range of holographic animals from around the world – including elephants and even fish.
While the projected elephants wave their trunks at the crowd and stand on their hind legs, bright orange fish later swim the length of the arena.
The United Kingdom is currently debating a bill that would, from 2020, ban travelling circuses from using animals in their performances.
It’s a ban or restricted reflected in about 45 countries across the world.
In Australia, the ACT has for 20 years banned exotic animals from appearing in circuses, while many local councils have their own restrictions in place.
The RSPCA has publicly stated its wish for laws to outlaw the use of exotic animals and travelling animals, purely for entertainment purposes.
The team used 11 projectors for the setup, combined with lasers and lenses strategically placed to offer people a 360-degree viewing angle in the 32m-wide arena. And guests seemed to love it, even those that had previously witnessed the original Roncalli spectacle.
And if the technology stops animals from being locked in captivity and abused for paying customers, it's a win for everyone right?