Tuesday, 28 June 2016

No Place For Exploitative Entertainment


Circus Mondao, one of the few animal circuses left in the UK, was in Aberystwyth recently, where we were treated to the view of camels shivering in the pouring rain. The circus tried to deflect attention from their practices, and unfortunately the Cambrian News quoted them without bothering to check facts: for example, the Circus Licensing Panel of DEFRA (hardly known for showing much care for animals) had a number of concerns about Circus Mondao as recently as March 2016. The DEFRA report says there are "concerns about insufficient outdoor exercise space", "concerns about the amount of exercise being provided" and concerns about poor record keeping in relation to exercise records and veterinary visits for their zebra, two camels and two reindeer.

In 2012 the UK Government said that it would implement a ban on wild animals in circuses, but thanks to persistent blocking by three Conservative MPs this ban hasn't been put in place yet; even if they do go ahead with it we may well need a separate bill for Wales as animal welfare is a devolved issue. There are currently only two UK circuses with wild animals, Peter Jolly’s Circus and Circus Mondao.

The Welsh Government really should implement a ban on wild animals in circuses in Wales. Many local authority councils (including Ceredigion, I think) already ban wild animal circuses on public land, but it still means such circuses can operate in Wales on private land, as has happened here with Mondao. The majority of the population want to see a total ban, and this is backed by commitments in political manifestos by the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru. The British Veterinary Association and the RSPCA back a ban on wild animals in circuses. More general animal circus information can be found on the ADI site or this site.

Circuses can never simulate the natural habitat of a wild animal. There are no educational or conservation reasons for animal circuses. They are only aimed at profit and entertainment, neither of which are justifiable. Other countries across Europe and the world have banned the use of wild animals in circuses. Instead of exploiting animals, we should encourage and support human circuses such as the amazing Welsh circus No Fit State.

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