Elephants safety outrage

Monday, November 20th, 2006

The Star

A circus publicity stunt during which two adult elephants stomped among cars and children in a town centre has been slammed by a local safety official.

The Royal Russian Circus brought the elephants to Carlow town to promote shows there today and tomorrow.

The elephants were spotted being petted by kids, wandering beside cars and stepped into the local fountain, totally unrestrained and without safety barriers in place.


Road Safety Officer with Carlow Urban Council John McDarby said the matter raised a serious debate on supervision of live animals and the issuing of licenses for their unhindered wandering in a public place.

“It’s not on to have impromptu parades without first consulting with the local authorities, the gardai and the health services,” he said.

He promised that he would also take up the matter with public health and town council officials.

McDarby added that he was “very, very concerned” when The Star told him that elephants had been roaming freely about the town last Wednesday, and said: “You have raised a very large number of questions.”

Local student Aisling Jordan witnessed the elephants in the town, and voiced her concerns.

She told The Star that the animals did “head stands on the roads, ate leaves off the trees by the roadside, stopped at traffic lights with the traffic and stood in the fountain.”


“I can’t understand how it was allowed to happen,” she added.

A circus spokeswoman said the incident was “just to take the parade down there for the kids”.

However, when told of the safety concerns raised and when asked if the circus had sought permission to stage the stunt, the spokeswoman declined to comment.

The Royal Russian Circus hit the headlines earlier this year when performer Vitaly Kharapavitski (26) died during a trapeze act in Scariff, Co Clare.

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.

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