The final of the television talent show “Britain’s Got Talent” announced its winner “via popular public vote” and it was the human-animal duo of Ashleigh and Pudsey the dog who won. Thus demonstrating very clearly that, despite the claims of the highly vocal animal-rights groups, the British public still has a clear affection for performing animal acts. Although the most disturbing thing about this is that if Ashleigh and Pudsey’s performance had taken place within the context of a circus it is possible that the reaction would not have been as supportive.
Last year - on the back of a campaign by the UK newspaper “The Independent” - a huge amount of effort and propaganda was generated by various animal-rights groups such as Animal Defenders International (ADI), Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS) to force the UK government to ban wild animals from British circuses.
The often misquoted and scientifically worthless DEFRA self-report of consultation statistics is often presented by the AR pressure groups as showing that “over 94% of the British public support a ban” (even though this was not supported on welfare grounds from a previous DEFRA scientific report in 2007). However, this again is inaccurate. Even discounting the fact that the consultation was open to responses from anybody with internet access across the world and that it was possible to reply as many times as you felt like, in fact the figures posted by DEFRA show that the responses in support of a ban only totalled 9532 out of 10105. That may be 94.5% of the total responses, but is actually only 0.02% of the British public. (summary of responses to DEFRA consultation).
Due to this campaign various politicians, led by MP Mark Pritchard, forced a debate in the House of Commons on the matter; ironically Pritchard’s stance in the interests of animal-welfare was deemed by some as cynical after his use of the pro-hunting lobby in his election campaigning. This debate was presented as a success for the supporters of a ban, but in fact only 5.5% (36) MP’s support a ban out of a current 650 listed Members of Parliament.
But what has this to do with a winning animal act in the television show? And moreover this was a domestic animal not a wild one, which the current campaign wishes to ban in circuses. Unfortunately, this isn’t as clear cut as it might seem. As a case in point here is a quote from the CAPS web site regarding the use of domestic animals in circuses:
“We believe that the circus is no place for any animal; wild or domesticated. We are concerned that, even if we are successful in helping to bring about a ban on the use of wild animals, this may encourage circuses to augment their use of domesticated animals and so will continue to campaign to see an end to the use of all animals in UK circuses.”
Therefore, it can been seen, that after these animal-rights ideologues have succeeded in duping the government and the public into banning wild animals for no justifiable reason on welfare grounds, domestic animals will follow which will then extend from the circus ring to all aspects of humans interaction with animals, particularly the skilled entertainment we have seen with Ashleigh and Pudsey.
An exaggeration? No. CAPS are very clear in their objectives:
“CAPS aims to stop the exploitation of animals in entertainment, particularly in circuses, zoos and the exotic pet trade.”
And by stop they mean ban!