Image via Wikipedia Image via WikipediaOur gratitude to "The Circus No Spin Zone" for alerting Rouster to the below video and the inspiration for the title of this post. On 2nd November the UK animal rights group ADI (Animal Defenders International) were invited, along with PAWS and celebrities Bob Barker ("The Price is Right" and Jorja Fox "CSI"), by Virginia congressman Jim Moran, to back the Travelling Exotic Animal Protection Act. This bill is clearly targeted at travelling circuses as it exempts zoos, aquariums, research laboratories and rodeos. Circuses were the only example of a transient exhibition mentioned throughout the conference.
There was no discussion whatsoever about any other form of animal entertainment that involved the transportation of animals or the use of animals in transportable accommodation. This was despite the key issue being made was that a circus cannot meet the needs of exotic animals due to the lightweight and transportable nature of the vehicles they travel in. No reference was made to the large outside living quarters most modern circuses erect when the circus arrives at a new venue. If there was a better example of blatant prejudice in a "developed" country I have yet to see it - oh, there was that "debate" in the UK House of Commons back in June 2011 wasn't there!
This conference was very revealing. Lines between Animal Welfare and Animal Rights are again blurred. Bob Barker makes his case resolutely clear. Despite praising PAWS for the way they keep animals in their sanctuary he doesn't agree that any animals should be kept in captivity. His support for Animal Rights as a philosophy is unambiguous and he credits PeTA for their recent ridiculous attempt to sue Sea World for "enslavement" of their orcas. Barker went on to say "Animal Defenders International and PeTA are two of the finest organizations internationally".
It's an interesting alignment and one that ADI does seem to object to. Their website regularly cites PeTA and the two organizations have done a fair amount of collaborative work together. They use identical tactics in their investigations. Due to the lack of interest in the UK media to investigate animal rights groups outside of the Animal Liberation Front, ADI has not be subjected to the sort of exposes their partner has experienced. PeTA has been exposed for funding the defence of a convicted domestic terrorist and for killing the vast majority of the animals it "rescues". They have also stated an undeniably militant agenda, which extends to the abolition of all animal usage, including blind dogs for the blind and consumption of animal products. Moran implied animal experimentation when he argued that there would be little bad impact on society with the banning of animals in circuses. He explained that no one's grandmother was going to die if this bill came into force. Of course, ADI are sisters with the Anti-Vivesection Society and began as that group's youth arm. In fact, ADI have revealed in their regular magazine their opposition to all animal usage and possess a very similar agenda to PeTA.
This really is the crux of what is going on here. A regular technique of animal rights campaigns to separate their targets. By focusing on exotic animals in circuses, as they have done in the UK, the committee give the impression that they are not interested in static circuses or domestic animals in travelling circuses. Astonishingly Moran conceded that there could be some form of resolution with Feld Entertainment, owners of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, if they led from the front and "improved" conditions. This is clearly not what his so-called panel of experts were trying to get over to the general public. Cognitive blind spots are a strange thing.
Circus The Truth was formed to counteract the misinformation spread by the animal rights agenda but in addition to fighting the corner for circus animals I think there is also a further need to promote and celebrate the circus in general, especially in Great Britain. http://www.facebook.com/groups/circusthetruth/