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"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 (Number 10)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09:  Actor John Net...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
 John Nettles 


John Nettles, British actor (writer and historian) that became a household name in the UK when he starred as Jersey Detective Sergeant Jim Bergerac in the series “Bergerac” in the 1980s and later as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby in “Midsomer Murders”. 

Why they are anti-animal circus? 

When radical animal rights organization Animal Defenders International launched their campaign to lobby Parliament to ban the use of wild animals in circus in the summer of 2011, Nettles joined a list that included Brian May, Brian Blessed, Annette Crosby, Mark Radcliffe and Ricky Gervais. This ADI tactic, which is clearly borrowed from their powerful US counterpart PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), was first used by the group in the late ‘90s and contained a few choice quotes from celebrities. This time around ADI really pushed their sympathetic stars to issue statements endorsing their decision to support their campaign. The word “amazed” was a rather stock verb used by most of the ADI list of artistes in their opening sentence. 

John Nettles told the animal rights group, which are against the use of all animals: 

“I am absolutely amazed that wild animals in circuses still exist in the UK. I was appalled when ADI informed me of Government’s recent decision and I would urge all animal lovers to get behind their campaign to stop circus suffering and write to their MPs and request that they contact the Minister responsible to request that he reverses his decision, in the interests of animal protection and welfare.”

Why is this celebrity a hypocrite? 

Rouster is equally amazed at Nettles’ uncritical willingness to support a campaign run by a bunch of animal rightists. I guess we are just as guilty as the next person in confusing an actor with the roles they play, but Mr Nettles had little problem working on an episode of Bergerac that portrayed animal rightists as dangerous idiots.  The 1987 TV episode “The Deadly Virus” was a story about animal rights activists releasing three baboons infected with a deadly disease. When facing one of the “animal liberators” towards the end of the episode, Bergerac has little time for the woman’s statement “Animals have rights!” retorting with an angry “You stupid woman!”  The baboons featured in the programme were, of course, trained animals by circus/film animal company. Knowing those who worked on the set very well, Rouster can confirm that Mr Nettles had no issue with the use of the wild trained primates in the show that made him famous. 

And so he shouldn’t. “Midsomer Murders” regularly features trained film animals – domestic and wild. 

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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