Fossetts Circus

Information gathered from 2012 investigation (click here to read full report) :

Animals: 1 horse, 2 ponies and 1 dog

Horse and Pony Act: ‘Big and Little’ horse and Shetland pony act was presented



Pony and Dog Act: The dog stood on the pony’s back and the pony walked around the ring



Pony rides: The second pony was used for rides during the interval


Circus History:

‘Ireland’s National Circus’, founded 1888

Animals used throughout the years:

Since 2008: Fossett’s has toured as an all-human circus although it does have ponies for rides
Animals used in 2007: Started with a horse act as the only animals but in the summer became animal-free.
Animals used in 2006: 3 camels in show. 2006-7 Christmas Show in Dublin was animal-free
Animals used in 2005: Included camels, horses, two elephants
Animals used in 2003  & 2004: Included an elephant act. The elephant had been imported from Sweden


Information gathered from 2006 investigation (click here to read full report) :
Samantha Lindley is the vet who carried out some of the inspections of circuses with Freedom for Animals investigators.


Camels are social animals, normally living in herds of up to ten individuals. Guidelines regarding keeping camels in captivity usually suggest that they should not be tethered and that sand or earth substrates, branches and rubbing posts should be provided for enrichment.

At the time of our visit the only animal act at Fossett’s Circus consisted of three camels.
The camel act was basic, with the animals being walked around the ring and standing on pedestals. While the animals appeared to be generally in good health, one did have bandaging on both rear legs, but without conducting a veterinary examination it is unclear why.
There was no opportunity to see the animals or their housing before or after the show.

Information gathered from 2003 investigation

In 2003 Freedom for Animals investigators visited three Irish-based circus. The following remarks concern Fossett’s Circus:

Amongst Fossett’s animal acts was Micki, a solitary female African elephant, transported to Ireland by ship and road from Sweden just to appear in the circus ring for a few months.

Although the public were not allowed to see animals after the show, Freedom for Animals investigators filmed Micki displaying signs of typical behavioural problems such as weaving her body.

Investigators also filmed a camel and a horse, both confined to small stalls, showing abnormal behaviours.




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