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UK To Ban Wild Animals in Circuses

category international | animal rights | press release author Friday March 10, 2006 11:31author by John Carmody - Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN)author email arancampaigns at eircom dot netauthor address ARAN Po Box 722, Kildare, Irelandauthor phone 087-6275579 Report this post to the editors

News Release

Yesterday Defra Minister Ben Bradshaw announced to the House of Commons
that a ban on the use of certain wild animals was being planned for the
UK under the Animal Welfare Bill.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mark Pritchard has asked: What
changes are proposed to animal welfare legislation in Northern Ireland;
and if the Minister will make a statement.

On Tuesday a dramatic billboard, organised by Animal Defenders
International (ADI) calling for a ban on the use of wild animals toured
Belfast before moving on today to Dublin. This is part of a global
campaign by ADI to end the use of animals in travelling circuses. In
Ireland ADI are working with the Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) to
promote the campaign.

Tim Phillips, Campaigns Director of ADI: "This is wonderful news from
Parliament and we are now waiting with bated breath for confirmation
that the prohibition on wild animals in circuses will be effective in
Northern Ireland - we can see no reason not to implement a ban here. We
have always had a very positive response to our campaigns from people in
Northern Ireland, and already councils in Belfast and Moyle have banned
animal circuses from their land.

"The simple fact is that travelling from place to place, with limited
space and long periods on transporters animal welfare will always be
compromised in travelling circuses. We are delighted that Defra have
acknowledged this fundamental problem."

ADI's undercover investigations in the UK are widely credited with
turning public opinion against the use of animals in circuses and
leading ultimately to Defra's statement yesterday. Last year the group
released the findings of investigations into circuses touring Ireland.
The Irish findings included video of an elephant being kicked and
punched and a camel being hit across the face with a broomhandle.

Related Link: http://www.aran.ie
author by john from Corkpublication date Sat Mar 11, 2006 17:08Report this post to the editors

I read with growing incredulity of the recent decision by the UK government to ban animals in circus. Yet another example of political correctness gone mad.

I fervently hope that the Irish government uses a bit more common sense and uses its time and legislative resources more wisely.

If Mr. Carmody and his fellow campaigners directed their energies towards more worthwhile projects then they might attract some respect instead of derision.

Aran, guys and girls, GET A LIFE. Circus will always be a part of life and I can only hope and pray that animals will long be a part of that proud tradition.

Do you realise that you are attacking an ethnic minority which has provided entertainment and magic for countless generations of Irish families. Would you direct such anger and wrath on the travelling community which contributes nothing?

author by Sideshow Robertpublication date Mon Mar 13, 2006 16:25Report this post to the editors

Will this ban affect clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers, human cannon balls?

End of an Era?
End of an Era?

author by circus fanpublication date Sat Mar 25, 2006 02:13Report this post to the editors

i agree with the other two comments, all circus animals in ireland are treated with kindness, i`m went to dufys circus in limerick a few weeks ago and saw the care that goe`s into lookingg after these animals, also the tigers were born on the show, like the people who own them

paddy limerick city a proud circus fan

author by bex - studentpublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 15:58Report this post to the editors

I am soooo glad that the government has set this ban. i dont think that its natural to dress up animals in silly costumes and make them prance about for our "entertainment". shame on anyone who thinks this is fun to watch, i have done a lot of research into the treatment of circus animals and its about time that people realise the suffering and cruelty that these animals endure.

i advise any of you 'animal lovers' that enjoy the circus to look at the video of how elephants are 'trained' at:


Related Link: http://www.circuses.com
author by Kaisa - People and Planet Stirlingpublication date Wed Apr 12, 2006 21:35author email neptuneglacier at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

There are a couple of questions that we need to ask when talking about circus animals: WHY are they there? And Are they allowed to follow their natural interests?

They are there to perform tricks that are NOT natural to them, and for what? To make us laugh? Tigers are not natural performers, elephants are not natural performers, and a circus is NOT a natural environment for them.

Circuses don't help to preserve endangered animals, they help us to objectify them, and to make them our slaves. And if we don't want to be treated as slaves, then why are we treating them as slaves?

A circus clown can quit his job at any time. An elephant will only quit when she dies. Theres a difference.

Let's stop the torture.

author by onwards and upwardspublication date Thu Apr 13, 2006 02:48Report this post to the editors

What I despise about some AR activists is that in a country full of poverty, homelessness and serious social issues they concentrate on bunnies and elephants. The mentality of someone who looks at the world, and feel that the best way they can contribute to its improvement is by helping elephants run away from the circus, seems insane.

“And if we don't want to be treated as slaves, then why are we treating them as slaves?”

Animals, plants and the planet in general have no intrinsic value. There is no supernatural force that imbues them with worth or rights.

Kaisa talks about humans "enslaving" animals. I assume this means that human exploit animals and use them to our advantage. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with this. We use animals to improve our quality of life; food, clothes, medicines etc. Why should entertainment be any different t?

“Tigers are not natural performers, elephants are not natural performers, and a circus is NOT a natural environment for them.”

While this sounds vaguely plausible it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense and we have no reason for believing it.
Firstly it ignores the fact that many of these animals were born into captivity. They were not running free on the plains of Africa before bundled into a truck and brought to a tent in West Cork. The environment to which they are used to is the circus.

Of course it is true that animals did not evolve to perform trick in a circus and are not evolutionarily suited to the task. In time though this shouldn’t be a problem because as time passes we will hopefully reach the stage whereby the evolution of circus animals, reacting to their new environment, will result in acrobatic elephants and tigers that can juggle.

Also by stopping humans using animals for their own purposes you are denying the “natural” desire of humans to shape nature and animals to suit our own interests.

author by Joepublication date Fri Mar 07, 2008 02:35Report this post to the editors

Some of the comments here are an eye opener.
1) Why is it political correctness gone wrong if needless suffering is banned?
2) Why is it an attack on an ethnic minority if needless suffering is banned?
3) Why is it ok to despise someone who helps needless suffering become banned?
4) Why if it’s not ok for animals to be kept in a circus just because they were born in a circus?
5)Why has an animal no intrinsic value or rights?
6) And why is banning animal abuse a denial of the natural desire of human to shape the world?


1) If animals are prevented from enduring unnecessary abuse, this is not political correctness gone wrong. It is simple decency. There is no need for an animal to be in a circus. There is no need for an animal to suffer for base human pleasure. Animals suffer in circuses. They suffer through the training regimes which are designed to break the animal into submission. They suffer from the lack of natural environment. They suffer from being confined to small areas, cages and shackles for long periods of time. They suffer from being on the constant move from one circus site to the next. They also suffer within the ring when performing but it takes a sharp eye to see the hook on a stick or the spike it a shoe that circuses do not wish the public to see. They also suffer by being made to perform when sick, pregnant and old. The animals become mentally ill due to the constant stress. This illness is exhibited through endless repetitions of the same movement. This is never witnessed in the wild. This is known as Circus Madness.

2) When a ban comes in preventing animals from being used in a circus this is not an attack on an ethnic minority but instead a protection for another minority, the animals within the circus. Whether the person who inflicts needless pain on an animal is from a majority or a minority grouping, this person should be made to pay for the crime.

3) A person who helps end suffering should be congratulated and not despised. Animals feel just as much pain as humans. Animal Rights do include humans after all. Humans are also animals. In my experience the people who say that there is always a more worthwhile issues are usually the people who wait for others to tackle these more worthwhile projects. And the others who do tackle the more worthwhile issues are the same people who they attacked for tackling the first issue. The simple fact is there is a lot of suffering out there and while one area may touch one person more so than another area there is no such thing as a more worthwhile issue. They are all equal. They all inflict suffering. It is not an argument to suggest that other forms of animal abuse for medicine, food and clothes are appropriate. It should instead be questioned are animals needed for any of these products and do animals suffer for any of these products. The answer is animals do suffer in these areas and there are other ways other than animals to obtain medicine, food and clothes.

4) An animal born into captivity will still be an animal with instincts that need to provided for. When these needs are not provided for the animal will suffer. Often mentally and physically. Circuses do not provide for the basic needs of animal. A few square metres for a few hours for elephants to wander around in, like in Vegas or 6 Bengal tigers locked in the back of a 40ft trailer like in Duffy’s do not provide for basic needs of these animals. Each animal is different. Consider the animal, consider the needs of the animal and then ask is it ok for an animal to go through this just so we can watch a few tricks for a few minutes in a show?

5) An animal does have intrinsic value and rights. This is akin to plantation owners saying that human slaves had no intrinsic values or rights. But the slaves here were humans. Did they suddenly get intrinsic value and rights because their status in society changed? All animals have intrinsic values and rights. They have intrinsic value to themselves and others who depend upon them. They have the right not to feel needless pain, not to be killed needlessly, not to be enslaved in circuses. These are rights that an animal needs to live and be happy. These are also some of the rights animals share with humans. Because these are rights that are needed by all animals. In the same way that humans want to vote they have the right to vote.

6) Banning animal abuse is not a denial of humans natural desire to shape the world. Humans should shape the world in a moral direction. This is after all progression in the moral sense. Banning animal abuse is a step in this progression. When this happens this will be humans shaping the world in accordance with moral natural desire. Waiting for animals to evolve unnaturally to a point where tigers can juggle for human entertainment is hardly in accordance with this and will do little for the animals who are suffering inside circuses today and for the next thousands of years. The word here evolve should surely be mutate or devolve.

Related Link: http://www.irishcircuses.org/
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