Irish ministers announce appointment of team to consider wild animals in circuses

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Ministers from Dublin and Belfast have appointed officials to develop an all-island policy on whether wild animals should be allowed in circuses. The move was welcomed by Freedom for Animals who, along with Irish partners including AFAR and NARA, have long campaigned for an end to the exploitation of animal in Irish circuses.

Whilst the suggestion that the use of wild animals in circuses will be considered is a welcome move, Freedom for Animals has warned against regulation and instead is calling for an outright ban. Anything short of complete prohibition, a spokesperson said, would be “unacceptable”.

Said Freedom for Animals Director, Liz Tyson:

“We have seen a system of licensing introduced in England which has been opposed by all leading animal protection organisations. Licensing cannot protect the animals and simply serves to legitimise a practice which has no place in modern compassionate society. We urge Ireland to move towards an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses as soon as possible”.

Freedom for Animals supports an end to the use of all animals in circuses but it is understood that considerations at this point are only looking at wild animals such as tigers, lions, zebras and camels.

Ms Tyson added:

“It is vital that the UK and Ireland both seek an end to this cruel practice. In the last six months, we have seen one group of big cats be sent from England to Ireland and reports in the last few days have suggested that a different group of lions and tigers will be sent from Ireland to England. Banning the practice in one country whilst allowing it to continue in neighbouring countries has the potential to simply shift the suffering across borders. This situation demonstrates the need for a joined-up approach in the interests of the animals”.

Freedom for Animals carried out a detailed investigation into animal circuses in Ireland in 2012. Find out more about the investigation HERE.

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