Image via WikipediaDavid Konyot takes a proactive stance in his approach to the opposition UK animal circuses face. David has formulated a set of questions derived from the ethics that underpin Britain's attitude towards the law and democracy. Outside of this we can look at it from the way a rational argument is decided. The burden is always on the shoulders of the claimant. It is down to them to produce empirical and testable evidence to support their claim. There have been two separate major scientific investigations into UK animal circuses. The first, in 1990, was commissioned by long-time and current circus opponent, the RSPCA, and returned with conclusions that did not support the concept of abolishing any animal usage in circus. It did say that improvements were needed, but achievable, and noted that circuses were often viewed with a degree of prejudice when
compared to zoos. For the record, these suggested improvements were taken on board and are now commonplace on UK circuses. The second was the independent scientific study known as the Radford Report, that was initiated in line with the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to support a ban on animals in travelling circuses. Both these reports can be found under our "Important Essays and Articles" section. So, the burden of proof still lies on the shoulders our accusers. We have presented our argument in the form of empirical evidence. We actually have little to answer for. Others, however, have quite a few questions that still haven't been answered...
Questions Awaiting Answers (A.K.A. If Not, Why Not?)
In all the years that I have been involved in circus, and especially in the “animals or not” debate, I have realised that we, as an industry, have defended ourselves logically using our experience, knowledge, truth and common sense to argue with protesters at the gate, AR activists breaking into our property, RSPCA inspectors, local councils, the biased press and media in general. In all that time I don't think we have really considered our position properly. We live in a land where the rule of law states that innocence is accepted until guilt is proved. When did this change for the circus industry? How did we get judged Guilty? And when? And by who?
We have questions for our accusers that need answering and they need to be answered publicly. In the same way that they have pilloried, abused, accused, harassed, hounded and threatened us over recent times, all in the public domain.
Q.1. To the RSPCA
Could we have a complete dossier with all the reports that your officers have made when visiting circuses with animals , with their conclusions (unedited please) a complete record of all your successful convictions of licensed circus trainers/directors on animal abuse grounds . (we only know of three and I'm not counting the exotic dancer with the snake).
IF NOT, WHY NOT?
Q.2. To PeTA, ADI, CAPS & the AR groups
When you protest outside law-abiding UK circuses , could you explain why your placards and posters are full of pictures of animals from European and American circuses from the '50s? Why do you protest outside circuses with only domestic animals with pictures of lions, tigers and elephants? Could we have copies of all the videos you so readily use against us (and we mean ALL the footage, not just the cherry-picked edited bits you publish and give to the press)?
IF NOT, WHY NOT
Q.3. To all councils that have a non animal policy
When you came to your decision did you ask your constituents? Did you consult any professional bodies? Did you bother to read the scientific evidence that is readily available from a multitude of sources? Did you actually attempt to see if there was another side to the story?
IF NOT, WHY NOT?
Q.4. To all MPs
Have you read up on the scientific evidence? Have you taken opinions from both sides of the debate? Have you talked to professionals inside and outside circus? Have you talked to animal specialists, animal psychologists and animal behaviourists (and not just the ones that are listed on the websites of those with a vested interest in opposing animal circuses) about this issue so that you are fully informed when you are asked to make a decision?
IF NOT, WHY NOT .
Q.5. To the media
Do you bother to check your sources when you get an animal abuse story from ADI or the AR groups? Do you double check with the other side to get an even and balanced reportage? Do you follow up and find out why? When these groups come with video “evidence “ three to four months old they didn't report it straight away or do you just accept their word.. Are you interested in the truth?
IF NOT, WHY NOT.
And, in conclusion, I have a final question for those who support us:
Q 6 - To the UK circus loving public
Do you not feel outraged that your councils can ban circus with animals from your town without your consent and in most cases without your knowledge? Do you not fell outraged that the press and media can publish lies and innuendo against us with no proof ? Do you not feel outraged that AR groups can perpetrate video fraud with no penalty ? Do you not feel outraged that the RSPCA , PeTA and other “animal lovers” beg for your money to protect abused animals and yet carry out policies diametrically opposed to this aim..
IF NOT, WHY NOT ?!
(c) David Konyot Copyright 2011