A symbolic ‘Walk for Animal Rights and Against Animal Circuses’, was staged last week by The Circus Animal rights Coalition, a group made up of over 20 Maltese animal rights organisations.
A symbolic ‘Walk for Animal Rights and Against Animal Circuses’, was staged last week by The Circus Animal Rights Coalition, a group made up of over 20 Maltese animal rights organisations.
The protest was carried out in the wake of an ever escalating stand-off between Circo Fantasy and a number of groups and individuals speaking out against animal suffering.
Such individuals include the Maltese Director General of the Educational Services, Micheline Sciberras – against whom JS Productions Ltd, acting on behalf of Circo Fantasy, is currently filing libel suits. Ms Sciberras, following a vigorous campaign against the use of animals in circuses, also provoked a judicial protest from the circus two weeks ago when she issued a staunch circular to all schools entreating parents not to take their children to animal circuses or dolphinariums over the Christmas break.
Ms Sciberras’ letter, in which she stated that she only approved school outings where there was an educational element, and observed that there is generally “an increased awareness on animals rights”, has resulted in her being sued.
ADI on hand to assist
Animal Defenders International (ADI), whose global Stop Circus Suffering campaign recently helped secure a ban on all animal circuses in Bolivia, is assisting the Director General in her court case, having provided reports, video footage and photography documenting circus abuse.
ADI is currently fighting for groundbreaking new legislation in South America. ADI continues to promote animal rights issues, both on the public and political stage, and vigorously opposes all animal cruelty.
Circo Fantasy, owned by JS Productions Ltd., has a long history of criticism, going back to 2006 when they were found guilty of not meeting minimal animal welfare standards by Italian authorities. In anticipation of the circus’s entry into Malta, TV personality Moira Delia also spoke out against circus suffering, and the Circus Animal Rights Coalition was formed to raise public awareness of such issues. Ms Delia is also facing legal action by JS Productions, who hold her and Ms Sciberras liable for damages suffered as a result of their diminishing reputation.
The Circus Animal Rights Coalition, who claims to have a large body of public support, has repeatedly asked the Maltese authorities to prevent the circus from performing in Malta in the interest of animal welfare. The circus, which features over 50 animals including wild and exotic animals such as tigers, crocodiles, lama, horses and ponies, snakes, ostrich, sheep dwarves, iguana, anaconda and zebra, claims it is being discriminated against.