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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Monday, 19 December 2011

Rouster’s Top 10 Hypocritical Anti-Circus Celebrities (Introduction)

English: Hypocrisy Русский: ЛицемерImage via WikipediaBack in October Rouster put up a fun public internet poll to vote on who readers of "Astley's Legacy" considered to be the anti-circus celebrity with the most egregious double standards.


Celebrities are, by their nature, in positions of influence. Purely on the basis of their fame others look up to them as role models. When they lend their support to anything from an item of clothing to a political cause, we know the world (or at least the celebrity’s native country or fanbase) are going to take notice. Charities and political organizations know this fact. It is small wonder that PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) work hard to keep their association with celebrities and use them extensively to push their campaigns and their ideology. Such groups also know that whereas production companies, fashion houses and record labels might have to pay a fortune to use the services of a celebrity, a group that puts itself forward as either a charity or charity-like has a powerful bargaining chip that can mean more than your average pay cheque. By being seen to support a sympathetic cause the celebrity boosts their public image. They add another dimension to their outward persona. Suddenly they are “not just a pretty face”.  

Some celebrities are dyed-in-the-wall animal rightists. As crazy and sadly misguided we think people like Morrissey and Moby might be in their animal rights beliefs, they are not the target of this list. At least they seem to be quite consistent in their beliefs.  

What we are interested in are artistes that have worked with performing animals (often circus animals) without any issue, but still have no bones about lobbying against animal circuses in principle. Rouster is sure that some celebrities manage this as purely a PR stunt. The agent suggests a cause they think will be good for their appeal and the celebrity sees no risk in putting their name to it. Others might be going through some craze that links them to it. For example, there are a good number of celebrities that went on strict vegan diets and leant their support to the animal rights movement. They later changed their minds when they reverted to vegetarianism or became omnivores once more. Some are merely misguided animal welfarists or otherwise rational animal lovers who have not really thought about the animal rights dogma they have been fed. 

We understand that people make mistakes. We understand that people regularly sign up to things they haven’t researched.  However, ignorance is no defence.  Circus people understand showbusiness. They live it every day and they will end up experiencing far more of it that is contained under the big top. The average circus person will have worked in television, pantomime, theatre, for commercials and appeared in magazines and/or newspapers. They understand, more than most, that when you put yourselves in front of an audience you should be prepared for the rotten cabbages as much as the praise. If a celebrity is going to oppose something he or she better make sure their closet doesn’t contain any star spangled skeletons…  

So, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys “Astley’s Legacy” proudly presents “Rouster’s Top 10 Hypocritical Anti-Circus Celebrities” (stay tuned for the next post!) 

Astley's Legacy was formed to counter the misinformation and propaganda spread by animal rights activists. As well as fighting the corner for circus animals and their trainers, we are here to promote and celebrate the cultural heritage of circus in general, and especially in the country of its birth - Great Britain. For more information please see our Facebook group
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