Elephant dies at Circus Sydney

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Irish Sunday Mirror

Please let the rest free now – Poor elephant Kenya is dead

By Donna Carton

A young elephant touring with controversial Circus Sydney has been killed in an accident.

But circus bosses refused to say what exactly happened to the animal while in their care.

The body of the 19-year-old African elephant, named Kenya, has already been destroyed and furious animal welfare groups have demanded an investigation and a public explanation.

Early reports said Kenya, who once escaped from the circus in Banbridge, Co Down, was injured by farm equipment as it roamed between performances. However, circus bosses have told the USPCA “she was hassled by dogs” and suffered a heart attack.

Craig Redmond, Campaigns Manager for Freedom for Animals, said: “The death of this young female elephant is shocking. We demand that all veterinary reports and post-mortem details of the elephant be made public so her death can be fully assessed. Kenya’s body was sent to a rendering plant – a sad end to a sad life.”

But Circus Sydney, currently in Newcastle, Co Down, has refused to reveal any details of Kenya’s death. Two new elephants are now travelling with the circus.

Spokesman Robert Gordon said curtly “that animal is no longer with us” but wouldn’t discuss what happened.

He said “I am sick of newspapers that only want to do negative stories about us. Come down here and see us and do a positive story and I will talk to you.”

Asked again what exactly happened to Kenya, Mr Gordon hung up.

Kenya’s death is thought to have occurred a few weeks ago while Circus Sydney was in Co Antrim.

Mr Redmond called on the circus to explain the circumstances of Kenya’s death.

He said: “This should not be a mystery. People have a right to know what happened to Kenya while in the care of Circus Sydney. I again call for an end to the use of animals in travelling circuses.

“Kenya was born in the wild in Zimbabwe but she lived alone, chained and transported from town to town. She should never have been subjected to the life of a travelling circus.”

Late last year Circus Sydney retired an elephant which was forced to perform with a deformed foot after an outcry from the public.

Circus bosses had denied the male African, Max, was in agony but eventually sent him to a wildlife park after continuous complaints.

The Freedom for Animals reported the elephant was forced to carry children on its back at performances in Booterstown, Dublin, despite its discomfort and distress.

Circus Sydney argued the elephant was born with a birth defect and was not in any pain but eventually agreed to remove the animal from circus life.

Last year the Sunday Mirror highlighted the plight of two elephants belonging to Circus Vegas. They were photographed rummaging among rubbish and at a litter and broken glass strewn wasteland at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

Editorial – Circus Shame

The death of Kenya the elephant must make us all sit up and take notice of the issue of animals in travelling circuses.

Circus Sydney and every other circus must be held accountable for the animals in their care and must explain to the authorities the circumstances of accidents and injuries caused.

It is not acceptable for Circus Sydney to simply say Kenya’s body has been disposed of. They must make clear whether a vet examined her and whether a post-mortem was carried out.

That these circuses use animals for so-called entertainment is bad enough. That they can simply dispose of them without an outside authority confirming what is said to have happened to the animals is disgraceful.

Kenya had a short life and it can’t have been a pleasant one. Born in the wild, she spent her life in captivity, taken from town to town to perform.

The days of animals in circuses should be a thing of the past. For wild creatures to be cages, dragged across towns and countries and made to ‘perform’ for our benefit is archaic and disgusting.

The only way the practice will end, however, is if the public refuse to go to these shows.

Don’t keep these barbaric things in business. Go to the many wonderful animal-free circuses instead.

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 info@captiveanimals.org to join our e-mail list.

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