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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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Terrorism begins at home.

I get incredibly irritated by the anti-piracy ads at the front of DVDs.  “Movie piracy funds the drug trade, terrorism and every horrible thing that goes on in the streets.”  Come on, give me a break.  If you can’t make money out of trafficking drugs and weapons, you are clearly a moron and selling a few grainy copies of “Twilight” isn’t going to save you.

However, many of us, if not most of us, are directly or indirectly funding terrorism.  Yes, you too, probably.  I’m not joking.  Do you care about animals?  Do you get sad at Christmastime and fall for those television ads with the sad donkeys staring straight into your soul, the kittens in the rain, and so on?  Do you feel compelled to put a pound in a tin, buy a calendar or cards, set up a direct debit, or do your bit in some way?  Then you may well be sponsoring terrorism, at home and abroad.

It is now a well-known fact that some so-called animal charities do not match the picture that most of us have in our head.  For me, an animal charity should concern itself with stopping animal abuse and neglect; it should encourage the spread of information on proper animal care; it should help raise the bar for animal welfare standards; and, when necessary, it should help the courts with the fair prosecution of those people who mistreat animals. 

“Animal charities” such as ADI (Animal Defenders International) and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” have completely different goals and remits.  These have been already discussed in depth in our blogs, so I shan’t bore you with the details, but in short their aim is to stop any sort of interaction between animals and people.  They are not against what we think of as animal abuse – they are against people living with and interacting with animals.  To them, a little girl riding her pony at a pony club gymkhana is just as guilty of abuse as a neglectful owner keeping a starving horse in a filthy stable.  Yes, they are essentially insane, and most people in the know don’t class them as animal charities at all – they are extremist groups, with an extremist agenda and who are happy to resort to extreme methods (including slander, libel, intimidation, terrorism, and extensive animal euthanasia) to achieve their goals.

I like to consider myself “in the know”.  I’m clued up, me.  When I think of an animal charity worker, the picture that springs into my head is that of an RSPCA inspector entering someone’s garden to find a starved, beaten dog tried to a post, so that the poor animal can be taken away to a safe place where it will be cared for.  Well, as it turns out, I’m dead wrong.

On the 13th of November 2012, the NFU was forced to release this press statement:

The NFU has issued a response to the stark comments made by RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant on Panorama last night.
During the half hour programme Badgers: Dodging the bullet? Mr Grant said that "The spotlight of attention will be turned on those marksmen and on those who give permission for this cull to take place. They will be named and we will decide as citizens of this country whether they will be shamed"

Responding to the programme NFU Director of Policy Martin Haworth said: "With these comments the RSPCA's Chief Executive Gavin Grant has overstepped the mark and in doing so confirmed our worst fears that the RSPCA is no longer a responsible organisation with animal welfare at its core.

"Mr Grant has actively encouraged people to identify farmers and those carrying out the badger cull pilots next year without a thought for their safety, their family's safety or the security of their homes. This is tantamount to inciting a campaign of fear and intimidation which I find wholly unacceptable and completely irresponsible.

"I am extremely disappointed with the RPSCA's approach, as expressed by its Chief Executive, to tackling what is one of the most serious issues affecting our beef and dairy herds today.

"This is not just a badger welfare issue; 34,000 cattle were slaughtered because of TB in Great Britain in 2011. Rather than encouraging the targeting of farmers, the RSPCA would do better to focus its efforts on animal welfare across the board. The majority of experts all agree, a badger vaccination programme in isolation won't solve this TB crisis, and a cattle vaccine is still years away. In all its rhetoric, the RSPCA has failed to come up with a single workable solution to dealing with this terrible disease."

You may think, “So what?  The RSPCA don’t want to see badgers culled.  After all, they are animals and they have a right to live.”  But that it’s not the point.  What the RSPCA are doing is, in essence, inciting the public persecution of the people involved in the cull.  These are not blood-thirsty people off to kill for sport – these are innocent workers doing a job which is perfectly legal and even sanctioned by the government, and designed to save the lives of other animals, the cows who will be saved from catching a horrible disease.

This campaign of personal persecution, "terrorism" really, is the very same strategy that extremist animal rights activists have been using for years against workers at animal testing stations.  You might be surprised to see the RSPCA stooping that low, but if you look at its actions and campaigns over the last few years it becomes apparent that their descent into extremism hasn’t been sudden.

In May this year, SCOTTISH TV screened “ANIMALS 999“ about the work of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Senior SSPCA Inspector Billy Linton inspected Zippos Circus over a number of days in 2011. Billy Linton and the SSPCA praised Zippos Circus for the way they treat their palomino horses (  The report clearly showed that the welfare of these animals was of the highest standard.  So, what is the stance of the RSPCA on this?  Well, they have just released a video decrying the “miserable lives” of animals in the circus:  Funnily enough, the only scientific study carried out in the country, by Dr Martha Kiley-Worthington, and commissioned by the RSPCA showed that there are no intrinsic welfare issues by animals being in circus.  They have never been seen to quote it in any of their videos or anti-circus propaganda.

Clearly, the RSPCA now put their personal ethics, which are far more extreme than that of the majority, ahead of proven facts.  They clearly no longer have an interest in the prioritising of helping those animals most in need of it – the horses abandoned in a ragwort-infested field to starve, the beaten dogs, and so on.  Their ideals and methodology have slipped further and further away from those considered acceptable by the average person.  They are turning into extremists, spreading self-serving lies and inciting the public to act against innocent citizens.  I class this as terrorism, and personally I will not fund it.

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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