In November 2005 Ireland’s Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) joined forced with ADI for an Irish Stop Circus Suffering campaign. ADI produced an Irish version of the Stop Circus Suffering DVD, together with a report the investigation of Irish circuses, and ARAN pushed the campaign across the country.
The evidence from seven circuses were included: A hippo whipped; a camel hit in the face with a broom; an elephant whipped; a baby camel being roughly handled and an elephant presenter kicking and punching one of his elephants backstage.
Repetitive behaviours such as swaying, pacing, weaving and head bobbing, were noted in elephants, horses and camels.
When circuses moved town, animals were kept in their trailers for excessive periods. Elephants were kept in their transporter on one journey for 59 hours. Pregnant animals were transported and continued to perform whilst pregnant.
Local authorities are being lobbied with a push for bans in Galway, Cork and Clare. The DVD has also been shown in schools and universities in Limerick, Clare, Dublin and Cork.
Poor standards of public safety included a hippo wandering towards a main road because an electric fence had not been erected – an ADI Field Officer alerted staff before the animal reached the road.
Prior to the launch, ARAN had been organising peaceful protests outside of circuses, now the campaign has been stepped up across Ireland securing considerable media interest. Local campaign launches and screenings of the investigation have been staged from Dublin to Limerick, Cork to Clare and Monaghan to Belfast.
After our mobile billboard had done its work in England for the Animal Welfare Bill campaign, it headed out to Northern Ireland followed by a tour of Ireland, with costs shared by ARAN and ADI.
The tour attracted huge interest and ARAN have followed it with numerous other stunts and events to draw attention to their campaign.
ARAN report that they are convinced this is a campaign that can be won. In addition to urging people to boycott animal circuses, they’re pressing for a bill to ban the use of animals in Irish circuses.