Your Guide to the Reality of Animal Circus

"The academic panel concluded that there appears to be little evidence to demonstrate that the welfare of animals kept in travelling circuses is any better or worse than that of animals kept in other captive environments" - Executive Summary of the DEFRA Circus Working Group 2007

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Friday, 26 August 2011

Feedback on the June 23 "debate"

The crowned portcullis, symbol of the Parliame...Image via WikipediaRecently the below letter was sent to me in response to the "debate" held in the House of Commons over a proposed ban on wild animals in circuses. Readers of this blog may be aware that David Konyot wrote a piece describing his feelings towards this rather sad example of British politics called "Democracy?" There were also the essays written by Dominic Lawson, "A Commons Circus of Animals and Fools" and Andrew McKie's "There is no Logical Reason to Ban Animals in Circuses". Both of which went against the grain being enforced by the sensationalist press and rabid animal rights brigade to present the real facts of the issue. 

Here a circus person, who wishes to remain anonymous due to genuine fear of Animal Rights targeting, wished to make their point. It is a heartfelt response that reminds us of those whose heritage and culture are affected by the opportunistic backbench politicking Prichard and his supporters engaged in on over the early summer period: 

MP Mark Pritchard who led claimed the government whip had tried to stop the debate. Labour MP Denis McShane and Lib Dem MP Don Foster asked him to explain and elaborate - which he did at great length – although what the whip said or didn’t say had nothing to do with animals in circus.

Tory MP Pritchard’s next statement was inaccurate. He said 39 wild animals in circus included lions. In fact there are no lions and only six tigers currently touring.

The 39 wild animals mentioned include ten circus-bred camels. Are camels really wild animals? They have been domesticated and ridden for thousands of years in their native countries.

Pritchard claimed that if the government’s preferred licensing scheme came into effect it would create a new generation of imported circus animals. Why would circus people want to bring animals back to a country where their customers are threatened and insulted, where animal activists sent them letter bombs, pots of poison jam and death threats? This country has, too, a national press most of which back to the hilt animal charity activists who slander circus people unmercifully.

Pritchard claimed if the government’s licensing scheme came into effect, it would cost the tax payer £1 million. How could it? The circuses themselves would pay the cost of the independent vet inspections and the circuses themselves cost tens of thousands per week to run. All those expenses come out of ticket sales - there is VAT on every ticket.

MP Pritchard claimed opinion polls said 92% of the public wanted the ban. Polls are not always correct. Animal circuses have never had state funding. They pay large tax bills. If the English public did not want them they could not possibly pay their heavy expenses. The public themselves would make it impossible for them to continue.

Pritchard compared circuses to bear baiting, badger baiting and dog fighting. This is ridiculous and insulting. In 2007 the Labour government set up a scientific study on circus animals by academics. The academic panel who made the scientific study of circus animals concluded:

“that for a change in the status quo there would have to be a convincing and coherent argument for change. No argument based on a sound scientific basis had been made”.

 The conclusion was that there was “little evidence to demonstrate that the welfare of animals in circus is any better or worse than animals kept in other captive environments”

At least two members of the panel had studied circus animals closely, daily for many months. Pritchard had either not read the scientists’ report or it suited his purpose to quote animal activists’ extremist views.

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