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, 23 September 2011

The Beauty of Reason by Anna Webb

HaflingerImage via Wikipedia

Once again a piece  by Anna Webb who is fast becoming the Queen of this blog. The plain common sense in her writing shines out, it makes editing very difficult but it does make for compulsive reading   

My dad is fond of a saying: “Under 30 if you are not a communist you have no heart. Over 30 if you are still a communist you have no brain”. Ignoring the politics, I broadly agree with the concept. Most people start out in life with dreamy ideals, and over time reality beats them into a completely different shape. That seems to be part of the natural process of growing up and gathering experiences, and, while giving up a utopia is sad, I can’t see any problem with it. What I do see a problem with is quite the opposite – people who hold ideals and ethics that make no practical sense, without any basis on reality, and which sometimes would result in very negative outcomes if they were carried out.

Born Free Killers? by John Dineley

FeraeImage via Wikipedia
John Dineley strips away the appeals to nature and emotion as well as the attractive veneer of the silver screen and pseudo-reality of the natural history documentary, and takes a closer look at the facts surrounding the celebrated releases of animal from captivity to their wild state. 

We all love a happy ending to a story.  Don’t we?  It’s that feel good factor and with animal stories even more so.  It is however sadly true that most modern urban humans have very little idea about the wild world or the behaviour of wild animals and how we - for what ever reason – can dramatically affect these animals behaviour even when the intentions are considered honourable. 

In an earlier blog the term Disneyfication was used to describe the rather deluded relationship many people have in the way they view the natural world and our relationship with it.  Disney is, of course, not the only ones guilty of presenting animals both real and imagined in a stilted and anthropomorphic way, and whilst many of us certainly realise that “The Lion King” is a cartoon and that lions don’t talk or philosophize sometimes so-called "true stories" develop myths of their own.

Monday, 19 September 2011

The Cove. Sometimes even award winning films are not quite what they seem.

Dolphins at Loro Parque, in Tenerife island (S...Image via Wikipedia
The Cove is the 2009 award winning documentary exposing the annual drive fisheries hunt of dolphins and whales in the whaling village of Taiji.  Many have rightly been very concerned regarding this hunting methods and questioned both its operation on moral, ethical and animal welfare grounds.  However, once again we see members of the animal-rights industry trying to hi-jack these concerned to promote their own agenda against the care of animals in zoos and aquariums.


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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Dreaming of Bears by Anna Webb

Line art drawing of a black bear.Image via Wikipedia

A piece of beautiful writing with some extraordinarily insightful comments from Anna Webb 

Dreaming of bears

As a young child in the 70s, I remember going to Disney matinees early on a Sunday. These were the days before videos (in fact for me these were the days before colour television) so watching cartoons on the big screen was a huge treat. My favourite bit, however, were the short animal documentaries they used to show at the start. I was too young to remember the details, but some images I will remember forever. A giant bird of prey (eagle?) taking a deer right up into the sky, to drop it to its death. Raccoons like naughty, furry elves. Seemingly endless hills covered in pine forests. For a city child, this was a different world – probably depicted quite inaccurately for show, admittedly, but magical nonetheless. Watching those movies gave me a love for nature and conservation that I don’t think I would have developed otherwise, purely because there was no nature in my life – I was surrounded by concrete. The movie I loved above all others, the one that I wished for every time even though I’d seen it a million times already, the one that made me squeal with delight when it came on, was the one about the bears.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Absurdity of Exploiting Trained Animals

KNUTSFORD, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: Police officers...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

This is another piece written from the heart with passion and commitment, emotions that unite  animal trainers with those who work with and look after animals whether they be in the entertainment industry  or private individuals. No-one can doubt the sincerity of the author and indeed we should applaud the  common sense way in which the whole debate is explained in simple terms , something we could all learn a lesson from. Sadly animals rights terrorism means that the author cannot be named for their own personal security

This article succinctly sums up the whole issue about exploitation. Exploitation is a very subjective word when it comes to reasoning human beings let alone creatures that don't govern themselves by morals and laws. We could argue that the four-year old child pictured here is being exploited. He is clearly way to young to vote and way too young to be considered to have the right reasoning capacity to decide his politics. However, by admission of his proud mother, Gabriel Ryan has been transported a long distance across the country (and will do again) to protest her cause! Any way, my rant is over. Please read on...

So you think PeTA and other animal-rights groups don't support terrorists?

Tribute in Light, 9/11/03Image by Brendan Loy via Flickr
At the time of writing this, it is coming up to 10 years since 9/11 when terrorists crashed three planes into the Twin Towers buildings in New York and The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia killing not only themselves but also just under 3000 men, women and children. 

One of the responses to these tragic events was the Homeland Security Act of 2002 creating the Department of Homeland Security whose main tasks was to protect the mainland USA against the attacks from terrorists.  In May 2008 United States Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Directorate prepared a briefing document entitled: “Ecoterrorism: Environmental and Animal-Rights Militants in the United States”.  

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Martin Shaw is hard to "Bear"

Martin Shaw joins the increasing list of  celebrities that demonstrate both an ignorance for what they represent and a willingness to change their position as it suits them. Previously we reported that Jane Goodall was having to justify her decision to open Edinburgh Zoo's new chimpanzee exhibit when animal rightists criticized her in The Independent newspaper. Goodall's response was no different from the argument provided by keepers of captive wild animals who have to suffer abuse and criticism from those who usually support her cause. Now anti-vivisectionist Martin Shaw, who is a patron of anti-animal circus organization Born Free, has fronted BFF campaigns against animal circuses and is an avowed animal rightist (as opposed to an animal welfarist), was confronted on BBC's "The One Show" with his previous not-so-hostile relationship with animal circuses.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

PeTA bearing false witness

False WitnessImage by topicagnostic via FlickrIt is not rare for PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) or any animal rights group to be accused of covertly setting up situations inside animal companies.  We in the circus community have seen examples of it many times. There is a history of cases where activists have been called to account for this most egregious form of spying activity. Few people can argue that undercover work can sometimes be the only real tactic that works and direct action can be justified. However, creating situations that are not real and falsifying evidence is a different matter altogether...

Click here for Wesley J. Smith's revealing report on G.W. Exotic Animal Park.

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Monday, 5 September 2011

‎" Disneyfication and our changing relationship with animals" by Anna Valdiserri

Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsImage by BetterWorks via Flickr
This excellent article provides a wonderful juxtaposition of the differing needs between humans and non-human animals. It also makes a good argument for how metaphor and fantasy have become confused in our cultural mindset when comes to having compassion for animals. She uses the term "Disneyfication", which has been applied before in a derogative sense to a whole range of issues in our culture where the influence of the works of the world's second largest entertainment company have seriously impaired people's perceptions of the world.