ADI has asked the Greek Ministry of Agriculture and the Greek Embassy in the UK to investigate after a local organisation filmed an elephant being abused, beaten and dragged with a bullhook, in Circo Massimo in Florina.
The footage also shows the elephant, during the performance standing on 2 legs, carrying 3 human performers and playing dead. This footage has been broadcast on You Tube. Such incidents have generated a strong public reaction of protest in Greece and throughout Europe.
In 2006, we launched our Greek Stop Circus Suffering campaign, with the Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF) and over 50 Greece-based animal welfare groups in Crete, Thessaloniki, Athens and Halkida.
According to Greek Law (1197/ 1981), the Minister of Agriculture and the Police are responsible for preventing and taking action against any kind of animal abuse. ADI and GAWF have asked the Minister to take immediate action against the circus and to ban animal circuses in Greece.
Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI, says: “This incident should drive Greece to set in motion European action on this issue by banning animal circuses and ensuring that this sort of abuse does not happen in the country. World awareness on the issue has never been higher; incidents like this have led to the Bolivian Congress to pass the bill banning animal circuses and legislation is currently being discussed in Brazil, Bolivia, Ireland, Peru and the UK to ban animal circuses.”
Agriculture Minister Sotirios Chatzigakis publicly announced that the incident “is out of tune with our culture”. The Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Greece in the UK replied to our letter saying “I do share your concerns on this issue and, particularly, the need for increased world awareness and vigilance. Your letter has been forwarded to the competent Greek Authorities”.