New campaign to end wild animals in circuses in Northern Ireland
Animal protection organisations Animal Defenders International (ADI) and
ARAN have launched a new campaign to end the use of wild animals in circuses
in Northern Ireland.
ADI and ARAN and other animal protection groups
spoke with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle
O'Neill, earlier this afternoon and provided evidence of the suffering of
animals in travelling circuses, and the similar wild animal measures being
taken by governments, cities and towns all over the world. Over twenty
countries have now banned the use of wild animals in travelling circuses,
and similar motions are being discussed in Colombia, Brazil and the UK. The
Minister will be urged to introduce legislation to end the use of wild
animals in circuses nationwide.
There is huge public support for a
UK-wide ban on wild animals in circuses and the Government announced in
March 2012 that it would introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time
allowed. ADI and ARAN is seeking a similar commitment from the Northern
Ireland Assembly, as well as the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.
ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer said: "Even with the best will in
the world, the evidence shows that travelling circuses cannot provide their
animals with adequate facilities to maintain health and welfare. ADI
investigations have revealed how circus animals endure confinement, physical
and social deprivation, long and arduous journeys, brutal control methods
and physical violence. We hope that Minister O'Neill will listen to the
public, and the overwhelming scientific and empirical evidence, and prohibit
the use of wild animals in circuses."
Just a few wild animal circuses
currently tour Northern Ireland, highlighting the decrease in popularity for
such acts. Courtney Brothers Circus made headlines across the world last
year after one of its five elephants escaped in Cork, running through a
public car park and onto a road. Two days later, at the same circus, a
trainer was crushed and hospitalised while attempting to break up a fight
between two elephants. Incidents such as these highlight the risk to public
safety, of allowing large and dangerous animals to be on the streets and in
towns. Following the escape, animal protection organisations, sanctuaries
and zoos from around the world called for the use of elephants in circuses
to be prohibited.
ARAN's Campaigns Director John Carmody said: "ARAN
has seen first-hand how popularity for wild animal acts in circuses in
Ireland has waned over the years as people become more informed about the
welfare of the animals involved. They see that performing is no fun for the
animals and don't want to be associated with the inherent suffering
involved. The use of wild animals in circuses should be consigned to the
past, where it belongs."
Animal Defenders International
Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P
Tel: 020 7630 3340
John Carmody, ARAN
Tel: +353 (0)87-2391646