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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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Child Exploitation, the "95%" Myth and Other Persistant Annoyances

TearsImage by TimOve via Flickr
Britain is famous for it's double standards. In his "Notes on the English Character", the great writer E.M. Forster addressed (and largely agreed with) the charge that Britain is "the island of hypocrites". Despite opposing the supposed exploitation of animals in circuses, many animal rights supporters and their organizations have no issue whatsoever with exploiting their indoctrinated offspring to provide effective emotional clout to their campaigns. At the forefront we have four year-old Gabriel Ryan who is being carted all over the UK to push his mother's political ideology and has been turned into a rather disturbing symbol for the 2011 "Animals takes the Smiles out of Circus" campaign. The militant animal rights group, CAPS (Captive Animal Protection Society), showcased a photo of young Gabriel wearing a full lion costume complete with make-up that displays a painted-on tear. It matches a blown-up picture that was showcased on CAPS' banner, which they displayed on their 3rd October protest at the Conservative conference in Manchester. Gabriel caught media attention when the poor little soul was displayed outside Bobby Roberts Super Circus in a full clown costume displaying his trademark painted tear (actually a CAPS trademark when you look at their logo of a performing elephant) and holding a hand-painted rendition of the aforementioned CAPS campaign slogan in Knutsford, Cheshire on 30th March. The photo by Christopher Furlong evoked so much pathos that it has taken on a life of its own on the net, as a virtual symbol of sentimentality.

CAPS declared their publicity stunt, backed by the astoundingly hypocritical Tory MP Mark Prichard a success. However, the news on the street was a little more reflective of how much of a minority the anti-animal circus brigade really represents."Animal Altruists" reported on there blog that they were able to muster little more than 200 animal rights supporters for the 35,000 strong series of marches. One blogger said they couldn't help but laugh at how little regard their cause was given, as the animal rightists were collectively told to march at the back. Their attempts to garner attention with recordings of a fox being killed in a hunt were apparently drowned out by the loud music of other marchers. The blogger also had little concern for involving a minor in their political activity, admitting to having a "10 year old 'mini-me'" marching in the parade.

The low attendance seems to put more lie to the statistic being banded about by politicians and animal rights activists alike that 95% of the British public are against the use of wild animals in circuses. The whole nonsense of this figure taken from a seriously flawed opinion poll and later an even more corrupt petition is reported in detail on this blog. And we are not the only ones who think this figure is rubbish. According to a circus source, the Advertising Standards Agency have made CAPS retract this piece of misinformation from their leaflets.

In conclusion, all this news shows several key points about the animal rights movement. Despite the way it has permeated our media, won over ambitious backbenchers and persecuted minority professions like animal circuses, it is still a minority cause. Furthermore, the view that wild animals should be banned in circuses is not an issue that has caught the public attention. The campaigners are showing that they have little care about using children, a part of our society that by definition are not eligible to vote, to promote their political ideas. This adds more to the argument that animal rights are not so much pro-animals as anti-people - a view expressed by many of their critics. Feminists - a righteous and legitimate cause that has all-too-often been hijacked by animal rightists in the same way as environmentalism, socialism and liberalism - are beginning to wake up to this anti-humanist sentiment too. Having ridiculed plus size women to promote vegetarianism - a campaign that prompted the creation of the Facebook group "Real Women Against PeTA" - the world's most vocal animal rights organization have announced plans to run a hardcore pornography website. As critics have asked, what sort of person are they are hoping to attract who will enjoy watching sex alongside pictures of abused animals?

As history has told us we should never underestimate the power of a minority. Due to their relative size they feel a need to be very loud and vocal. In many instances this has been a good thing. After all, animal circus is a minority in the entertainment world - although its cultural influence and importance is far wider than many appreciate -  but minorities aren't always good things. A minority that has a history of using intimidation, violence and have a disturbingly radical agenda in their philosophy rarely brings good things to society if they come to power. I do not wish to invoke the Reductio ad Hitlerum logical fallacy argument, but the parallels between the shrill political bullying tactics, distorted morals and bizarre philosophy of the early days of the National Socialist German Workers' Party in the 1920s, and the way the animal rights movement operate are difficult not to see.

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