Stop Circus Suffering

ADI & ARAN welcome further Arts Council funding cuts to animal circuses

Publicly funded body must now withdraw support for compromised sea lion act

ADI and our campaign partner ARAN have today welcomed the substantial reduction in funding of animal circuses by The Arts Council of Ireland for 2015, from €35,000 last year to €20,000. The Arts Council now funds only one circus and we are calling on them to withdraw their support for Duffy’s which tours with an act featuring sea lions, a species known to be at risk of poor welfare.

The Arts Council of Ireland, funded principally by the Irish Exchequer and National Lottery, has given nearly €750,000 to animal circuses over the last six years, with Duffy’s Circus receiving more than €330,000 since 2008.

ADI and ARAN have been urging The Arts Council for several years to end its funding of animal circuses, and will continue to do so until it sever its ties completely with circuses who exploit animals and compromise welfare.

Duffy’s has previously attracted criticism for its tiger act; when their trainer and presenter, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield, left in 2013 owner David Duffy admitted how dangerous big cats were saying “one wrong move…can be fatal”. Since then, a sea lion act has been added to the show, sparking fresh controversy. As well as concerns for the animals’ welfare, the use of the fire brigade to fill the sea lions’ pool in August 2014 has attracted criticism.

The natural behaviours of the animals – such as being able to dive hundreds of meters to hunt, as they would in the wild – are denied them in the circus, and the Swedish Animal Welfare Agency recommends that sea lions should not be permitted in circuses, since their swimming needs cannot be provided for.

A report into the welfare of sea lions in travelling circuses prepared for the Government in The Netherlands, which recently announced it is to ban wild animals in circuses, found that sea lions face a number of great risks to their welfare in circuses. The report cites “possible welfare problems like eye problems, regurgitating and pattern swimming… a relatively small pool size and overexposure to UV light” and notes “pool dimensions in a travelling circus are likely to be smaller” than other forms of captivity, to the further detriment of sea lions kept in circuses. Another expert contributing to the report advises that “training, husbandry and housing methods can affect aggression, frustration and boredom”. ADI and ARAN will be presenting this evidence to The Arts Council.

Worldwide, 30 nations and hundreds of local authorities have prohibited animal circuses, with numerous local authority bans in Ireland and more being considered in the coming months.

Unlike Britain, which is progressing measures to ban wild animals in circuses, the Irish Government does not currently plan to prohibit animal circus acts, instead developing a Code of Practice for circus animals. Evidence has shown that such measures do not safeguard welfare or protect animals from abuse and ADI and ARAN continue to call for an all-Ireland ban on animal in circuses.

Take action for animals in Irish circuses!

Urge The Arts Council today to say no to circus suffering and withdraw its funding to Duffy’s Circus – send them a polite message via their website

Support our campaign to Stop Circus Suffering in Ireland and around the world


  1. Hennie Bezuidenhout · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    Please don’t let the animals in the circus suffer!

  2. Laurence Holyoak · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    Please withdraw funding to Duffy’s Circus! Animals are not here for our entertainment!!! They teach us nothing of natural behavior or conservation. Don’t support animal cruelty!

  3. Beth Pierce · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    Please end the funding for circuses. For the love of the beautiful and sacred creatures.

  4. Ine Baveld · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a


  5. Isobel Kidd · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a


  6. Dr Karyn Stapleton · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    Stop circus suffering

  7. Madhu Pillai · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    Animals are not there for entertaining, the horrendous cruelty they endure in their training.

  8. Carolyn Ellertson · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    Circuses would have you believe that the animals in their acts are performing through kind and patient conditioned response, and the desire to please. If you watch some of the video proof that it is all about brutality and abuse, you will not want to support them with a single dollar!! Please.. help stop the suffering of wild animals being forced to do unnatural things for human entertainment.. You will sleep better at night, and they will find another way to entertain you.. like, how about people.. they have a choice and weren’t taken from their mothers as babies and tortured and abused till they learned what was expected of them to do in an unnatural way.. Thank you so much.

  9. jarno Hendriks · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a


  10. Brigid Gallen · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    Animal Welfare in Ireland is suffering. Please don’t add to that suffering by supporting Circuses that keep animals for human entertainment.

  11. David Tickner · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    Please cancel all wildlife in circuses in Ireland.

  12. Ivana Carrozzi · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    Please, STOP circus suffering

  13. SJR Blackburn · 15 January 2015 at 1:23a

    STOP funding circuses….it promotes animal cruelty and is a waste of valueable money needed elsewhere…..It is not right to keep animals in captivity and torture for the sake a of few minutes pleasure and to line the pockets of circuses for it…..It is barbaric and outdated

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