We have a good friend who works for Barnum and Bailey. He is the biggest animal lover you will ever meet. Those animals are like children to their trainers. Of course there are a few bad apples. You will find these in any industry and it all walks of life.
I have been behind the scenes. I think it's pretty cool to expose children and people of all ages to the awesomeness of these creatures. In addition Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey have made many preservation efforts of many types of animals.