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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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Rouster’s Top 10 Hypocritical Anti-Circus Celebrities (Number 9)

Brian Blessed


Brian Blessed is a celebrated and well-loved British actor. His distinctive booming voice, which he uses to great effect, can be heard regularly on various adverts, as a guest star on radio dramas and on children’s television characters. Whenever you need a larger than life masculine character you call on Brian Blessed. He is best remembered playing Augustus in “I, Claudius” in his youth, various Shakespearean roles onscreen under the directorship of Kenneth Branagh, as a grown-up fantastical imagining of Richard IV in the original “The Black Adder” series and as the winged Prince Vultan in the ultra-camp “Flash Gordon” motion picture. 

Why are they anti-animal circus? 

Blessed has a longstanding relationship with the radical animal rights group Animal Defenders International. This goes back to at least 1998 when he was interviewed for their members-only magazine, pictured with his massive pet dog collection. When ADI kicked up the pace of its anti-circus campaign again in 2011 Blessed spearheaded the celebrity support and was even involved with a publicity stunt where he produced his anti-circus petition to Downing Street. He called for a ban on wild animals in circus on that day stating, “It is now time for them [the government] to get on with it and ban the use of wild animals in circuses - period."

Why is this celebrity a hypocrite? 

Brian Blessed seriously needs to do his homework. ADI are animal rightists that have regularly aligned themselves with PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) who are openly opposed to pet ownership and have said in no uncertain terms their eventual goal is the banning of pet ownership and the eradication of domestic animals. Rouster keeps repeating that term “animal rights” to remind Mr Blessed who he is supporting. We would like to believe that Mr Blessed, who is a large pet owner (in every sense), is the equivalent to a slave-owner in the weird and wacky world of animal rights philosophy. We would like to assume that Mr Blessed is really a misguided animal welfarist, but even then he has some serious double-standards. You see, good old lovely Brian and his booming voice had no issue whatsoever in appearing in the London stage production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” alongside a group of circus-trained dogs. This occurred between the two ADI campaigns, so no excuses of “I didn’t know better at that time” variety will suffice. Working at the same theatre for an entire season would have meant Blessed would have observed training and rehearsals as well as general animal husbandry. The trainers reported that Blessed showed no signs of disapproval whatsoever.

Blessed runs a "sanctuary" at his home, where he appears to apply double standards to his "rescued" circus animals. 

Looking back through Blessed’s lengthy career it is not difficult to see several feature films that involved the rotund star working alongside and in close proximity to a wide variety of trained animals ("My Family and Other Animals", which he was a regular character, for example, featured a whole catalogue of trained wild and domestic animals). Not adverse to playing pirates in live pantomime and on TV (Long John Silver in “Return toTreasure Island”), he would have worked with live trained wild Amazon parrots. Sorry Mr Blessed, with your huge pet collection and fat cheques for playing roles in entertainment that uses trained animals it would appear that your knowledge of circus animals and ADI extreme animal rights philosophy is pretty slim.

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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