Protesters gathered in Newcastle on the afternoons and evenings of Thursday to Sunday 15-18 May to show their opposition to Tom Duffy’s Circus which continues to use animals in their shows. They are also concerned about animal welfare and treatment and living conditions in circuses.
In Northern Ireland, the animal rights activists have been campaigning for the banning of wild animals in circuses and general animal cruelty issues such as dog fighting and hunting. Their Facebook campaign page has gathered over 11,000 supporters. A spokesperson from Newcastle said: “People need to be further educated that there are many forms of animal cruelty. It’s not only the obvious forms of physical abuse, dog baiting/fighting, starvation, neglect and purposeful pain.
“Sea lions, for example, are diving animals. These marine mammals vary in length from 9-11 feet, and can move between 10-25 miles per hour. As photos clearly convey on Tom Duffy’s official facebook page, these animals are kept in what can at best be compared to that of a family sized garden pool. How that is not a case of concern for their mental health is beyond comprehension.
“Wild animals belong exactly there…in the wild. They are not on this earth for people’s amusement or financial gain. Circus animals are kept in an unnatural environment with little freedom to express their natural behaviours. They are usually transported all over the country in cages or crates, forced to perform sometimes twice daily for months on end, under the hot ringside lights and with loud music.
“Our view is that any circus which uses animals in their shows should not be supported. To attend a circus which uses animals only reinforces such activity and such behaviour has no place in a modern society.
“Some of these touring circuses may have been in operation for centuries but the tide is turning. People are educating themselves and the ever-growing opposition is not going away! There is over 11,500 wonderful like-minded animal lovers who have joined forces in their plight to protecting the welfare of all animals through the Facebook Page ‘Northern Ireland Says “NO” to Animal Cruelty‘.
“Everyone concerned about animal welfare issues is encouraged to join to raise awareness of the plight of all the poor animals who need us to be their voice. We want to see a ban on animals used in any circus. There is absolutely no justification and the public should not reward such behaviour”.
To view Tom Duffy’s Circus, click the link.
However, touring circuses do have to comply with government regulations and will likely have done so, and the campaigners may have to re-direct their attention to the corridors of power in government to achieve any change in government policy.
But with the coming round of elections, it is certainly a subject that could be pitched at local politicians as they canvass for your vote over the next two days and with the Stormont and Westminster elections to come.