Acts with wild animals “belong in a bygone era”
ADI and our Stop Circus Suffering partner ARAN have welcomed a commitment from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to ban wild animals in circuses in Northern Ireland, made in its new policy document Challenging Cruelty which states “such practices belong in a bygone era and have no place in modern society”. The nation’s largest political party, the DUP has committed to supporting a bill to ban such acts in the Northern Ireland Assembly and in the meantime will work with local authorities to prevent circuses with wild animals using public land.
Despite public support for a ban, the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland and its counterparts in Dublin are presently considering a system of regulation for wild animal circuses – a move ADI and ARAN condemn as unworkable, ineffective and one that will not safeguard the welfare of the animals. The DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill has however not ruled out a prohibitive measure, recently stating that she is “very open to the possibility of banning the use of animals in circuses”.
ADI and ARAN have been campaigning to end the suffering of animals in circuses across Northern Ireland, as well as Ireland, for the past 10 years. In that time, a growing number of local authorities have prohibited circuses with wild animals from using public land. In Northern Ireland, many of the bans in place will be affected by upcoming local government reorganisation; ADI and ARAN are working with councils to ensure that their decision to ban such acts remains in place.
Although there are currently no circuses with wild animals based in Northern Ireland, those in the Republic cross the border to tour. One circus – Duffy’s – had a big cat act in its show for years. When the presenter returned to Britain, a sea lion act was introduced attracting criticism for its use of this deep-diving aquatic species. Ireland now has just one big cat act at Courtney Bros, which was brought in from the Great British Circus in Britain where ADI had filmed the tigers being beaten.
- Contact your local candidates ahead of the General Election and ask for their views on a ban on wild animals in circuses. If you need assistance identifying candidates, please contact the ADI office.
- Make a donation – ADI is securing lasting change for circus animals around the world, help us do more!