More than 2,500 people sign petition calling for ban on animal circuses
by Francesca Vella
More than 7100 people have signed a petition set up just six days ago calling for a ban on animal circuses. Animal rights activists are again disappointed that there will be performances by two animal circuses as early as 8 November, throughout December and probably january.
The petition, which was set up by Fleur Marie Cilia Buckett, president of voluntary group World Events to End Animal Cruelty (WEEAC) Malta, is one of a number of other initiatives calling for a ban on animal circuses. These include another petition that was set up by the Circus Animal Rights Coalition – made up of about 20 NGOs – a few years back.
Over the years, various NGOs have also organised a number of educational activities to raise awareness on the matter, as well as demonstrations to express their disapproval of animal circuses and to explain that circus animals are subjected to unnecessary cruelty.
Ms Cilia Buckett, who has given talks to students about the suffering that circus animals go through, told this newspaper: “All circuses deny captive-born wild animals of their need to exhibit their natural behaviours. In an age when Cirque du Soleil has shown us the beauty of human performances again, why are we still stuck in the Middle Ages, bringing over animal circuses with their cruel practices?”
She noted that Bolivia was the first country to ban all animals from circuses. In Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece are the two countries that have banned all animals from circuses. Ms Cilia Buckett quoted Animal Defenders International as saying that Austria and Croatia currently have bans on wild animal acts, and several European countries including Portugal and Denmark have measures to ban or phase out wild animals in circuses.
Ms Cilia Buckett added that the Great British Circus (GBC) has given up its use of animals, meaning that there are now only seven animal circuses in the UK: Bobby Roberts Circus, Circus Mondao, Circus Tyanna, Gifford’s Circus, Peter Jolly’s Circus, Robert Brothers Circus, and Zippo’s Circus.
Animal Aid said in a statement two months ago that animal campaigners reacted with joy as the GBC confirmed that it will no longer use animals in its performances. The news came after concerted efforts by local activists, who have held regular demonstrations outside GBC performances, educating the public about the cruelty and exploitation involved.
“Last year, following a debate in parliament, MPs declared their unanimous support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. The public had already indicated their opposition to such exploitation, with 94% of people who responded to a government public consultation on the issue calling for a ban.”
Animal Aid said that rather than implementing such a policy straight away, the government is planning to set up a costly and complex licensing regime. The fact that the GBC has decided to stop using animals in its performances, shows that it has realised that people no longer consider this kind of animal exploitation in the name of entertainment to be morally justifiable.
Many thanks to the author of this article Francesca Vella of the Malta Independent for allowing me to share it with you all.
Original article can be found at – http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=152564