3rd September 2012
In 2006, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society conducted a study of the use of animals in circuses across the whole of Ireland. In order to understand the current situation, and provide a comparison to that in 2006, a further study was commissioned in 2012. The two projects comprise the most comprehensive work carried out to date on animal circuses in Ireland. The main findings can be summarised below:
– There were seven circuses using animals in Ireland.
– The touring season lasts up to ten consecutive months, during which time the circus might have travelled the whole of Ireland (Republic and North), sometimes performing at two venues in the space of a week.
– Many animals were suffering physical and behavioural welfare problems, living restricted lives, with temporary and inadequate accommodation, constant transportation and unnatural social groups
– Few attempts were made by the circuses to provide suitable environmental enrichment for the animals.
– There were many health and safety risks to the public and circus staff by the use of animals as well as reported cases of serious injuries.
– There are now only four circuses using animals in Ireland.
– Overall numbers of animals has decreased to 58: 16 wild animals and 42 domestic animals.
– Importation of animals for circuses has reduced since 2006.
– Funding from Government agency, Arts Council Ireland, for animal circuses has been reduced from €247,000 in 2006 to €103,000 in 2012/2013.
– Touring season, animals living restricted lives, temporary and inadequate accommodation, constant transportation and unnatural social groups remain serious concerns, as does lack of enrichment.
– Veterinary comment suggests that health and welfare risks for animals remain high, though little detailed assessment was carried out of individual animals.
– It is clear that the ongoing campaign to see an end to the use of animals in circuses in Ireland is having an impact, but there is still some way to go to ensure that animal suffering in Irish circuses is ended once and for all.
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Click here to read about elephants in Irish circuses
Click here to read about Arts Council Funding of Irish circuses
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Click here to read the full report updated January 2007 (in pdf format 3MB)
Click here to read the summary report (in pdf format 3MB)