Stop Circus Suffering

The science on suffering: Numbers of animals in UK circuses

In 1997, there were 350 animals touring with UK circuses, including 16 elephants and 31 lions and tigers.

 7. Numbers of animals in UK circuses

Species grouping: Exotics, Domestics, Birds
1997: 124, 213, 10
2005: 47, 125, 36
%change: -62%, -41%, +260%

TOTAL (all sp.):
1997: 350
2005: 208
% change: -41%

  • In 1997, there were 350 animals touring with UK circuses, including 16 elephants and 31 lions and tigers.
  • In 1997, most common were horses and ponies (almost half of all the animals), but also included were camels, dogs, domestic cats, leopards, a rhinoceros, sixteen elephants, fifteen lions and sixteen tigers, sea lions, and others.
  • 85 animals were supplied to circuses overseas, including eleven bears, three elephants, fifteen horses and ponies, one hippopotamus, three leopards, nine lions, twenty-three tigers and a wolf.{*}Some animals stay abroad for years, traversing the globe from Europe, to the USA, Japan and the Far East, often not returning to the UK due to quarantine regulations. Some die abroad after years of travelling.
  • In 2005, the total number of animals in UK circuses had dropped to around200 animals, including 1 elephant and 12-15 lions and tigers.
  • Now is a very good time to end the use of animals in circuses. These animals could be phased out.
  • A MORI opinion poll in 2005 commissioned by ADI reveals that:

– more than twice as many people now visit animal-free circuses as opposed to those with animals.
– In the last 5 years, attendance at animal-free circuses has risen from 6% to 16%.
– Animal circuses remain slumped at 7% attendance.

  • Statistically at least, there is a clear correlation that as an animal circus closes it is replaced with an animal-free circus. It is likely the industry would thrive without the stigma of animal suffering.

Click here for a PDF of the report

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Click here for Animal circuses: The facts


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