Stop Circus Suffering

Waterford motion to ban wild animals in circuses progressing

ARAN applauds Waterford City Council as a motion to ban wild animals in circuses, put forward by Independent Councillor Sean Reinhardt and seconded by Sinn Fein Councillor John Hearne, moves forward to the next legislative stage that goes to the Council’s Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).

ARAN applauds Waterford City Council as a motion to ban wild animals in circuses, put forward by Independent Councillor Sean Reinhardt and seconded by Sinn Fein Councillor John Hearne, moves forward to the next legislative stage that goes to the Council’s Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).

ARAN’s John Carmody said: “This is a mighty progressive step forward as Waterford becomes the latest Irish City to move towards a future without wild animals in the travelling circus. More and more local authorities in Ireland are considering a ban on the use of wild animals and now we will be stepping up the pressure for a national ban. With our partners at ADI we have exposed physical abuse, confinement and deprivation in Irish circuses, and in these past months we have seen the public put at great risk with an elephant escaping from a circus and a man seriously injured. If cities like Waterford can move towards ending animal-act circuses, surely Ireland as a country can do the very same too.\

Independent Councillor, Sean Reinhardt, gave the following statement:

In this day and age there is no excuse for putting animals through this type of confinement and stress. Public support is in favor of bringing these Victorian menageries with animals to an end, and for good reason. I’m hoping years from now the only circuses that will be coming into Waterford will be those with amazing acrobats and human performers, this is clearly the future.

What’s wrong with animal-act circuses? Circuses in Ireland may cover many hundreds of miles every year, carrying animals from site to site in, at times, totally inadequate transporters and cages on the backs of or towed by lorries. Moving location regularly means that animals spend most of their time in totally unnatural temporary accommodation. The unfortunate animals can be locked up for hours or even days in their traveling cages with their only respite being an endless circle of rehearsals and performances. It is widely accepted that it is impossible for circuses to provide their animals with the facilities they really need. Yet despite this sorry state of affairs circuses in Ireland include such diverse creatures as lions, tigers, dogs, reptiles, camels, elephants and, incredibly, rhinos and hippos. Elephants, for example, in the wild are extremely social, live in large herds and travel on average 25 to 30 kms a day. In the circus however, they spend most of the day chained by a front and a hind leg, standing on a metal or wooden board in a tent. The chains on their legs mean that they can only shuffle a pace or two backwards or forwards. If they are lucky, they will occasionally have access to a grassed electric fence enclosure. Circus elephants therefore spend almost their entire time barely able to move, let alone perform natural behaviours such as foraging, bathing, traveling and socialising. This without doubt causes stress and frustration and leads to abnormal behaviours such as rocking swaying and nodding. It is not just wild animals that are frustrated and severely confined. Although performing dogs could be kept as pets, living with an employee, they are often kept in cages on tour or tied up when they are not performing.

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