Caged, humiliated – just to amuse us

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

The Daily Mail

They should be freely roaming the plains of Africa, watched, if at all, only by distant tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of them while on safari.

Instead they are in Ireland performing ‘unnatural’ circus acts, such as headstands and handstands, while living in restricted conditions with little sustenance.

And all for the amusement of the general public.

The Captive Animals’ Protection Society urged the Government yesterday to ban the use of all animals in circuses following the publication of a damning new report detailing numerous incidents of cruelty to animals.

Entitled ‘Ring of Cruelty’, the report is based on visits to five of Ireland’s seven animal circuses by Freedom for Animals investigators in July 2006, some of which were accompanied by a vet.

And what they found was nothing short of shocking.

Out of 102 animals being used in circuses, 43 were of exotic species including six elephants, a giraffe, a rhino and a hippo.

While the hippo was kept solitary, housed in a tank of dirty water unable to fully submerge, the elephants were forced to perform ‘unnatural and dangerous acts’ such as headstands and handstands.

Some of the animals had been imported from across Europe, facing gruelling journeys of up to 1,000 miles.

Craig Redmond, Campaign Manager for the Captive Animals’ Protection Society said: ‘The touring season often lasts ten consecutive months, during which time the circus may travel the whole of Ireland, sometimes performing at two venues in the space of a week.

‘A significant number of animals in circuses in Ireland live restricted lives with temporary and inadequate accommodation, constant transportation and unnatural social groups.’

Outlining specific safety concerns the report reveals how children are allowed unsupervised access to chained elephants behind electric wire.

Meanwhile a vet said that an act where a presenter had lost control of horses in the ring had been ‘an appalling accident waiting to happen.’

Mr Redmond said: ‘Freedom for Animals is calling on the Government to ban the use of animals in circuses and in the meantime to prohibit all imports of animals for circus use, for local authorities to stop allowing animal circuses on council land and for the Arts Council to fund only all-human circuses.’

The circuses in Ireland are now winding down for the end of the season but after Christmas will start their new tours.

‘We will be working with campaigners across Ireland to encourage the public to avoid those circuses using animals,’ added Mr Redmond.

What can you do

– Boycott circuses with performing animals

Become a Freedom for Animals supporter – you can help to make a difference

– Write to your Assembly Member/TD, asking them to support a ban animal use in circuses. Contact details can be found HERE for Republic of Ireland and HERE for Northern Ireland

– Write to your local newspaper highlighting what is wrong with circuses.

Send a donation to help our campaigns – your contribution is vital.

Click HERE to get involved in our campaigns in the Republic of Ireland and HERE to get involved in Northern Ireland contact us to join our e-mail list.

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