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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Friday, 22 June 2012

Britain's Got Talent, and Strange Bedfellows Too

In recent decades the Circus community has been plagued by false accusations of animal abuse and mistreatment.  Animal Rights organisations such as PETA, CAPS and Born Free, as well as allegedly more moderate Animal Welfare organisations such as the RSPCA have ganged up to vilify a whole industry and community.  At the bottom of these brutal campaigns is the claim that “travelling circuses, by their very nature, cannot meet the welfare needs of wild animals”.

This is despite the fact that the only independent scientific study of Animal Welfare in Circus, carried out by Dr Marthe Kiley-Worthington and commissioned by the RSPCA and UFAW (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare) demonstrated that “circuses do not by their nature cause suffering and distress in animals”.

The fact is that while thousands of people are taken to court by the RSPCA every year, no British Circus has ever been convicted of animal cruelty.

The campaigns conveniently ignore both the facts and the studies, and continue their harassment of animal circuses and their public.  Animal circuses are routinely subjected to verbal abuse, death threats, vandalism and theft.  The animals themselves are often subjected to cruel stunts by activists seeking to disrupt the shows – activists letting off fireworks near circus horses now happens so regularly as to be almost routine.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

More Voices from the Sidelines...

"circus" (Photo credit: thaiz_mm)
This month Rouster praises two journalists for having the courage to take a look at the "pro" side of the animal circus debate. It would appear that June is not the month to be advocating that side from a media point of view. One year ago back bench politicians voted in favour of a ban on the use of wild animals in UK circuses. I won't go into details about the unfairness of this particular "debate". You have only to consult our list of articles and essays on the right hand side of this blog to see what happened in a so-called democratic country. This is also the month that saw the beginning of Animal Defenders International's ludicrous case against Bobby and Moira Roberts.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Who wants to CAP the fun at the Olympics?

200 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Somewhere near the top of Rouster's main objectives is to bring public attention to the fact that the animal rights agenda affects us all. Today's press release from the CAPS (Captive Animal Protection Society) shows that the AR agenda will only settle for the total ban on animals in live events. This shameless publicity stunt, supposedly in response to CAPS members pressuring their leaders to do something about director Danny Boyle's intentions to recreate a farm landscape for the opening ceremony, has made it into the mainstream press. CAPS have already started a petition to prevent the use of live animals taking place. Interestingly the RSPCA (famous AW/AR fence-sitters and opponents to wild animals in circus) have been actively engaged in addressing welfare concerns with the various farmyard animals used in Boyle's production. With a bit of luck this entire episode could highlight the clear difference between animal welfare, which promotes the responsible use of non-human animals by humans, with the radical agenda of the animal rights movement.

If anyone was in any doubt that CAPS, Viva! and others in the animal rights movement do not have other animal institutions in their sites aside from wild animal circuses, this statement from CAPS director, Liz Tyson says it all: "We are calling on the Olympic organisers to step in and ensure that the use of live animals does not happen". 

 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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