Stop Circus Suffering

Ireland could take the initiative over a ban on animal circuses

A huge 10-foot inflatable elephant accompanied representatives of Animal Defenders International to a meeting at the Department of Agriculture in Dublin for a last-chance presentation calling for a ban on the use of animals in circuses.

Irish Ministers are currently consulting on the content of the forthcoming Animal Health and Welfare Bill, which is expected to be proposed by the Irish Government in Spring next year.

ADI was invited to present the case for a ban on animals in Irish circuses. Our political team told civil servants that revisions of the UK Animal Welfare Bill have been a let-down. Two years after the Government promised a ban on wild animals in circuses we are still waiting.

ADI undercover investigations of circuses in Ireland captured animal abuse on film, such as an elephant kicked in the leg and then punched in the face, a keeper whipping an elephant in order to get her to move, a camel slapped in the face and then hit in the face with a broom, a pregnant camel performing just days before giving birth and a hippo being whipped to hurry it along when it was already walking in the same direction.

ADI’s ‘Stop Circus Suffering’ campaign has led to Governments all over the world looking to revise their laws on the issue. Bans are currently being debated in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. Countries which have already banned the use of wild animals in circuses include Costa Rica, Austria, Singapore and Hungary, and in the UK the implementation of such a ban is still under consideration.

Since the launch of the ‘Stop Circus Suffering – Ireland’ campaign by ADI and Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN), bans on animal circuses have been secured in Cork and Fingal, with moves underway to secure similar bans in DunLaoghire – Rathdown, Galway and Shannon, Co. Clare.

Senior Political Officer, Helder Constantino, says “We had a positive first round of discussion with the Irish Department of Agriculture on the issue of animals in circuses. With no more than 150 animals in circuses, and with a growing number of councils banning animal circuses, Ireland has the opportunity to take the step that the UK is still reluctant to take: banning the use of all animals in circuses in legislation. In Europe, it appears that small countries are now showing the way forward in animal welfare legislation, with Austria and Denmark having the strictest restrictions on the use of animals in circuses. ADI hopes that Ireland will join the group of leaders and propose an exemplary Bill next year.”

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