Massive drop in animal circus funding in Ireland since launch of Freedom for Animals campaign

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

This time last year, we released the shocking news that, since 2006, the Arts Council Ireland had used almost one million euro of taxpayers’ money to fund circuses which use animals. The news was met with angry reactions from the Irish public and the council received so much correspondence criticising their actions that they agreed to meet with Freedom for Animals to discuss a way forward. A positive meeting in Dublin, in partnership with Dublin-based group, NARA, and with the support of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was carried out. Our arguments against the funding of animal circuses were taken seriously and the council agreed to consider a change of policy.

Tiger Duffy's Circus 2012

Whilst the decision to end the funding of animal circuses has not yet been taken, in 2013, the funds granted to the circuses which persist in using animals has dropped to around a third of the money that was handed over in 2006, when Freedom for Animals began campaigning on this issue. In contrast, funding granted to all human shows has more than doubled in the same time period. A Freedom for Animals spokesperson said that this showed “a move in the right direction”.

Freedom for Animals Director, Liz Tyson, said:

“It seems that the pressure placed on the Arts Council as part of the ongoing  circus campaign is working, but the £85,000 granted to support animal circuses in 2013 is still £85,000 too much. We are renewing our call on the Arts Council to end this once and for all. The use of animals in circuses is not, and never has been, art”.

Following the agreement of the Arts Council to reconsider their policy, Freedom for Animals had agreed to ask supporters to refrain from putting continued pressure on the agency. Ms Tyson said:

“We have seen an improvement, but it is not enough. We are now calling on supporters to, once again, contact the Arts Council to request that they take the final step and bring an end to funding of animal exploitation altogether”.


ACTION ALERT: Let the Arts Council know that animal exploitation is not art!

Please contact the Director of the Arts Council, Orlaith McBride, to request that, from 2014 onwards, no further money is granted to circuses which continue to use animals.

Orlaith McBride
Arts Council Director
Email address:
Telephone: +353 (1) 618 02 00

Template email:

Dear Ms McBride,

I was shocked and disappointed to discover that the Arts Council Ireland continues to use taxpayers’ money to fund the use of animals in circuses. The exploitation of animals in circuses is not, and never has been, art and the practice has been either restricted or completely banned in an increasing number of countries around the world. I would like to request in the strongest possible terms that you bring an end to your support for these businesses and that no further funding is granted to circuses using animals from 2014 onwards.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]

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