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

Join us on Facebook The WELFARE of Circus animals.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Circus Wild Animal Trainer Helps the SPCA?

No, you didn't read that wrong. It seems that a kind-hearted member of our circus community has put differences to one side - perhaps in the spirit of this festive season - and come to the aid of one its staunchest opponents. However, fear not. This is not some naive soul won over by "soft" animal rights dogma, as we have seen happen to often in the zoo fraternity. Casey, our man in South Africa, recognized that by donating animal food to this "non-profit" organization he had some say over where his hard-earned money would go.

SPCA International are a global organization that go under the guise of being "animal welfare" orientated rather than rights, but much like the similarly named RSPCA in the UK, the group is heavily involved in political activities and oppose certain legal animal professions such as animal circuses. Unlike various other legitimate animal welfare charities, such as SSPCA, PDSA, The Blue

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Animal Rights Crawls into the Courtroom Again

As more naive academics muddy the waters with their own perverse ideas of ethics, sugar-coated with sentimentalism the animal rights legal train rolls on. We are living in a time where India has declared dolphins "non-human persons" and the Great Ape Project has gained support for laws granting chimpanzees and orang-utans rights in some European countries. In the UK a law banning wild animals in travelling circuses is being processed for 2015 in shameless disregard of the conclusions of a government commissioned scientific report. Despite using terrorist tactics, animal rights has always gone hand-in-hand with lawyers. Getting prosecutions - no matter how unsuccessful - has been a staple tactic of many groups. The below link demonstrates that the slippery slope argument is justly applied as the Non-human Rights Project seek to turn chimpanzees into legal persons in a move to free them from captivity. Animal welfare law professor, Richard Cupp, certainly thinks so:

"If NhRP is successful in New York, it could be a significant step toward upending millennia of law defining animals as property and could set off a 'chain reaction' that could bleed over to other jurisdictions"

Lawsuits Could Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons | Science/AAAS | News

Monday, 2 December 2013

Hitting Back at the Hollywood Reporter

 The International Animal Welfare Association has hit back at a scathing critique of the American Humane Association. Not to be confused with the radical and highest earning animal rights organization, the Humane Society of the United States, the AHA are a long established and respected body that protects the welfare of animals on film sets. As animal rights groups step up their radical agenda through such films as "Speciesism: The Movie" and "Blackfish", and bans on wild animals in circus, the movie industry would be the next to suffer from their persistent chipping... 

Friday, 29 November 2013

Circus 1 SPCA 0 in East London, South Africa

According to the animal rights movement, the general public want to see an end to animal circuses. They cite various countries who have declared a ban on wild animals in circus as a foil for any scientific argument put forward. The science may - and it does - say that there is no logical reason to ban wild animals in circus any more than it is to ban them in zoos, safari parks or sanctuaries, but the animal rights movement have shown that through recruiting backbench MPs and harassing any authority they can stop animal circuses. By doing this they believe it represents the feelings of the general public.
However, as the above report demonstrates, the general public can sometimes show

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Cautionary Circus Tale

Meat Management Magazine - A Cautionary Circus Tale
"The problem is that virtually nobody knows or cares about circuses in this country, so the general public assumes that any animal in a circus is being mistreated and its welfare is being compromised. People believe this because animal rights campaigners have been telling them this for true. The Government itself has admitted that in deciding whether to support the call for a evidence that the welfare of animals is compromised by being in circuses. In fact they had a great deal of evidence from vets and people who have worked with circus animals that in the main they are extremely well treated. The Government’s determination to go ahead with a ban was not because of animal welfare at all, but because of the fact that they believed public opinion was against animals in circuses..."

Blackfish's Mission Creep

 The BBC agree to promote and show a partisan animal rights documentary with no desire to show any opposing views. Cult film, 'Blackfish', has sneaked past many scientists and people in the animal industry's cognitive blind spots with its thinly veiled animal rights agenda. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the thin end of the wedge. This is "soft" animal rights and once it is in the public consciousness just about everyone in the animal industry - from pet-owners to riding stables to zoos to scientific researchers to animal welfare sanctuaries will suffer... Do something now! 

And The Moonbeams Kissed The Sea: Blackfish's Mission Creep: Are some zookeepers tur...: PeTA's specially created Facebook page to promote the BBC's showing of 'Blackfish' The publicity and spin from the film ...

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 Or follow us on Twitter: @RousterAstley

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Hitler Award

Recently Feder Fauna, an Italian trade union working commercially with animals, has named a new prize "The Hitler Prize". Massimiliano Filippi, general secretary of Feder Fauna, said: “The Hitler Prize represents a condemnation of those who trample on human rights in the name of the ideology of ‘animal rights!’ I find that asking to stop experiments on rats and proposing instead experiments be done on prisoners has a close affinity to Nazism.”

The prize's name has met immediate opposition by some members of the Jewish community (and unsurprisingly Italy's Green Party). Non-orthodox Jewish rabbi, Barbara Aellio condemned it, believing it demeans the holocaust and saw it as an example of the "creeping Nazism". Rouster can see the good rabbi's point, but wonders if she feels the same way about the continuing animal rights campaign that tastelessly displays comparisons between the atrocities of the holocaust and the farming of chickens. I wonder if she has seen the campaigns waged against the practice of Kosher slaughtering that animal rightists use, despite many rabbis claiming with apparent scientific evidence that their methods are amongst the most humane methods of killing in practice today. The 4th May edition of "Beyond Belief" saw Ernie Rea field a debate between a defender of the Jewish method for slaughtering animals, a member of the RSPCA and a Vishnu Hindu priest. The latter two guests pretty much presented an animal rights argument.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

'Animal Apartheid'. Reindeer. What next?

 Thus, ADI can now comfortably slide into other areas of protest against 'animal use' for both leisure and sporting events having 'slaughtered' their cash-cow of wild animals in circuses in the UK.
Rouster has for many years made the point regarding the agenda of the animal-rights community and its ultimate goal to eradicate any form of interaction between animals and humans, a term that Dr Martha Kiley-Worthington called 'animal apartheid'.

In a recent post, Rouster showed the next stage in their mission is creeping from animal-circuses to zoos; then all animals in entertainment; and finally pets. While the Captive Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
continues with its campaign  to intimidate retailers and Christmas event providers into banning the display of live reindeer. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Screw Off Scrooge! - Soper Hall Won't be Intimidated

Yesterday CAPS (Captive Animals Protection Society) revealed on Facebook its outrage when Soper Hall refused to back down when faced with their anti-reindeer campaign. Soper Hall have reindeer, a domesticated breed of this species of deer that have a long history of being bred and farmed in the UK, booked for their Christmas Fair. In an action the radical group called "arrogant" Soper Hall, who called the "concerns" voiced by CAPS as "ridiculous", made this factually accurate assessment of CAPS:
"I imagine the complainers don't eat meat, never wear leather and object to horse racing".
This is very true of CAPS who notably do not refute this statement in their Facebook post. Why should they? They have admitted to being a vegan group and are in opposition to all these other practices speculated on by Soper Hall.

CAPS are actively opposed to the use of animals in any form of entertainment and, being supporters of the animal rights movement, have an agenda that will probably extend to the entire concept of animal usage. That means pet ownership. CAPS have campaigned and endorsed animal rights groups who have not hidden their desire to see the total eradication of domesticated animals, including "non-human animal companions" as they prefer to call what we know as "pets".

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

On Your Bike: The RSPCA Joins CAPS

 One thing is clear, that through the stupidity of the UK government, the RSPCA and its friends in the animal-rights movement feel they now have a license to attack any form of animal display that does not meet its narrow, animal-rights agenda.
In a recent blog we exposed the hypocrisy of the UK government in its rejection of any form of compromise as to what species of wild animals could be used in a circus if, or  when, the proposed ban of wild animals comes into play in 2015.

Rouster made the valid point that the current legislation is not clear as to what is (or is not) a wild animal from definitions provided by
such legislation as the Dangerous Wild Animals Act and the Zoo Licensing Act

As we pointed out, there are many animals that may not be wild and/or indigenous to the UK but who do not require any form of licensing and are freely available as pets or farm animals.  Yet these same animals would be banned from the circus ring, but not other animal entertainment or leisure events. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The wild animal circus ban, or when is a wild animal not a wild animal?

The question to ask is why it appears the government is seeking out the prohibition of some 'wild' animals in circuses whilst appearing not to apply the same rules to the same animals use in other public entertainment and leisure events.
As some will know, the UK government has brought forward a proposed bill to ban all wild animals from UK circuses from 2015. As a provisional measure in December 2012, it introduced a codified welfare inspection and licensing system for all circuses displaying wild animals. Currently two British circuses hold such licenses.

Despite the fact, that even in its latest response to consultation the government states within the first paragraphs that:

"...the Government's position that there remains insufficient evidence, in line with the findings of the 2007 'Radford Report', for a ban on welfare grounds."
It still plans to go ahead with the proposed ban.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

CAPS Cancels Christmas: Rudolf's Redundant

Once again, CAPS does not disappoint in its use of an ideological animal rights agenda; whilst ignoring the reality of the animal welfare standards for species such as reindeer provided by licensed and lawful enterprises such as circuses.
Our jovial and self-styled 'animal-rights and vegan supporting' friends at the Captive Animal's Protection Society (CAPS) are again trying to ensure that those who make a living working with animals have a miserable festive season.  Not content with wanting zoos, circuses and the pet trade banned, they also wish to spoil the harmless enjoyment of children 'of all ages' seeing reindeer and other animals at Christmas fairs and similar events. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

CAPS: Taking the law into their own hands?

"...that cruel idiot needs a chain round his neck and hung."
CAPS Facebook page 11 September

Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS) Director Liz Tyson is attending the 2014 Animal Rights Conference in Luxembourg where she is presenting 'Taking the law into our own hands' a presentation to the faithful on how current welfare laws could be used against circuses, zoos and other animal enterprises. Ms Tyson has a degree in Environmental Law and is now undertaking further academic study in animal welfare law.

However, it is a great a shame that she and her fellow CAPS members do not have a clear understanding of some other laws, namely the UK's Malicious Communications Act 2003 (amended by Section 43 Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001).

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Captive Animals' Protection Society - CAPS

"A vegan organisation and a member of the animal-rights movement."

Founded in 1957 by retired Sussex schoolteacher the late Irene Heaton, the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) initially campaigned to end the use of animals in entertainment, primarily in the circus. Since that time, the group has extended its campaign to include banning animals used in zoos, films and television, sport and exotic pet keeping. CAPS became a registered charity in June 2008 (Reg. No.1124436).  

Its stated charitable activity is:
To promote humane behaviour towards, and prevent cruelty and suffering to, animals held in captivity. To educate the public to a sense of moral responsibility towards animals held in captivity. To undertake research activities in connection therewith, and publish results, and to provide relevant educational materials to the public.

Although its 2012 published account states:

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Public Opinion: What Happened to 94.5 per cent?

A recent YouGov poll states: "Britons think that wild animals in circuses should be a thing of the past".  Whereas this should read: "Britons show a drop in opposition to animals in circuses"

The YouGov polling organisation recently published a poll on the use of wild animals in circuses.  This comes on the back of the introduction of new animal welfare regulations for wild animals in UK circuses in 2012 with proscribed species standards, inspection and licensing.  It is also connected to a muted ban on all wild animals in circuses by 2015.  This total ban has since been the subject of suggested amendments that would see the banning of animals such as big cats or elephants but not all wild animals such as zebra.

This new poll was reported with predictable glee by the now standard list of animal-rights groups such as Animal Defenders International (ADI), the Captive Animal Protection Society (CAPS) and the RSPCA.

However, a closer look at this poll reveals something very interesting.

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Big Cats Are Back: BFBS Radio meets Jolly's Circus

Chris Kay, of BFBS Radio, interviews lion trainer Thomas Chipperfield and ringmaster Peter Jolly Jr of Jolly's Circus.  Jolly's are currently touring the UK with a well-received traditional show containing both wild and domestic animals, including the welcome return of lions and tigers.  All the animals are now inspected and licensed under the new UK circus animal welfare regulations.

Radio 4 Discusses the Proposed Wild Animal Ban in Circuses

As Thomas Chipperfield brings performing big cats (lions and tigers) back to England, Radio 4 decided to address the proposed ban on wild animals in circus. The ban is set to come into place in 2015. However, for the meantime strict new regulations have been put in that animal circuses have easily been able to handle. The issue was covered on the consumer programme "You and Yours".

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Marine Animal Welfare: Blackfish and the Selective Skeptic

 Saw Blackfish documentary. Disturbing. It"s time to end exploitation of whales along with chimps. I"m boycotting SeaWorld. Who"s with me?  Michael Shermer, Facebook. 6 August 2013.

For those who follow the sceptic community Michael Shermer is a leading light.  However, in a recent posting on his Facebook page (copied above) it seems that sometimes his sceptical eye can be blinded.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

RSPCA Finds Nothing Wrong with Animal Circuses - But They Still Oppose Them

How can the RSPCA continue to use the words cruelty and abuse when speaking of animals in the Circus?

The organization has a very lengthy stance against animals in circuses and backed the ban on wild animals being kept in circuses. Their page is unambiguous about its campaign against animals in circuses. The scheduled ban is only intended for species not domesticated in the UK, but there is nothing in the RSPCA's wording regarding their position that makes this distinction except where the actual ban is mentioned. 

And yet they visit the small number of UK animal circuses on a very regular basis. They have to because the minute the circus builds up in a new place you can almost put a guarantee that some animal rights activist or a member of the public seduced by animal rights propaganda will telephone the RSPCA to make a complaint about the animals not being looked after. So the RSPCA turn up, unannounced, and they fill their Animal Welfare Assessment Form out. Funnily enough the general public rarely get to see the evidence of this, you know why? Rouster are not above cynicism and we put it that perhaps it is because time and time again these vanguards of animal protection fail to find anything wrong with the animals they inspect. Let us have a look at a case in point.

Below is one of the Assessment Forms from a visit with Amanda Sandow's horses whilst she was working on Paulo's Circus in 2011.  

You will notice one of the boxes is left blank. This is because there was no fear or distress present for her to protect them from. Now from this you may jump to the conclusion that they were experiencing pain, injury, disease or suffering as that box is ticked.

Please be reassured this is NOT the case. This simply means that the RSPCA Inspector was given access to the Vet, Dentistry and Farrier records and he saw for himself that the animals are fully up to date with all their worming and inoculation requirements, have their teeth seen to as and when needed, and that they also have their hooves seen to as regularly as recommended within the horse world. Thus he was able to tick "yes" that the animals are indeed protected from pain, injury, disease and suffering. Well, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

It is such a shame that not an awful lot of privately owned horses could boast of the same care and attention to detail.

Yet it is the Circus that gets targeted.

There is also a declaration from David Stephens, he is an Animal Psychologist who covers the South West, like he says in his report, he is trained to pick up any slight indication of an animal responding from fear.

He found the opposite.

And also there is a letter from Vet R.C. Scammell from the Milton Equine Veterinary Clinic who visited Amanda and again, found everything in order.

So, three independent reports, all saying there are no concerns for the animals in the Circus. Yet, the RSPCA and the animal rights activists continue to use untrue accusations.

I cannot understand how the RSPCA are spending donated money on trying to get animals banned from the Circus whilst at the same time visiting them and finding everything in order. It just doesn't make sense. After all, they inspect many other legal animal businesses and do not feel the need to lobby against their existence. The bulk of RSPCA prosecutions are against pet-owners and yet I do not see their group appealing against the ownership companion animals or their sale.
Whilst the above goes on the Welfare of the animals within the Circus environment I would also like to add on the results of two independent stress tests carried out whilst travelling.

One is the findings of Dr Immanuel Birmelin, a well known Animal Behaviourist, and was carried out on Elephants.

And the other was with Martin Lacey Jnr and was carried out on his Tigers.

Both tests consisted of taking swabs from the animals' mouths to examine levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. In both instances the conclusion was that the science did not prove the animals suffered above average levels of stress.

All of the information in here is available on our Facebook page, The Welfare of Circus Animals.
Please visit and see for yourselves.

And of course if you visit a real Circus, ask to see the animals in person. You can see the truth for yourself.

Okay, so no satisfactory answer to the first question. We'll answer a couple of easier ones for them.

Besides mounting prosecutions against people, the RSPCA is also known for taking on unwanted animals. Does the RSPCA take in unwanted Circus animals? No, because there aren't any unwanted Circus animals.

Have the RSPCA seized any Circus animals this year, last year, year before? No, because they are not in conditions they need rescuing from. 

Now here are a few questions worth putting to any animal owner before they jump to judge animal circuses. 

Do any of you own horses or any other animal that the Circus may also have? Can you show us all the up to date Veterinarian records that show all the necessary inoculations/worming/health checks are up to date and records of your regular farrier visits? The Circus can. Just turn up unannounced, ask to see all of this documentation and also ask to see how the animals are kept and trained. For many decades this has been what the circus has expected and these are the demands it has met. I bet it's a lot different to how you've been led to believe by what you've read or been told.

Have any of you got a dog? Have you trained your dog to sit, beg, lie down, go to bed, fetch, or to bark on demand? Did you do this training by whipping it or did you give it a treat and tell it 'good boy' Hmmmm, funny how training all works the same way - for positive reinforcement and reward.

Do you put a dog coat on, or worse still, the unnecessary fashion clothing now available to pets? 

Do you put your dog in the car to take it to the park/beach/woods? Does it travel loose and up front, or do you put it in the safety of a crate or put its specially adapted seat restraint on?

Does your dog run loose whilst out or do you keep it leashed?

Do you crate your dog whilst you go to work? Maybe not but I bet seven out of the other dog owners you personally know do.

Does your dog have the run of the whole of your house and garden whilst you are out or is it confined within the four walls?

How many hours a day do you spend with your pets? Do you work all day and give the dog a token trot around the block for 10 minutes, twice a day, for it to go potty? Or do you give it the full exercise it would get if it were still in the wild?

The reasons for all these questions is that yourself, or indeed somebody you know, will be probably doing all of these things, which in a way could make you seem hypocritical, because you, or the people you know, oppose animals being in a Circus yet you, or those around you, are often keeping animals in far worse circumstances.

You say the Circus animals are caged; so what is a dog crate?

You say the animals travel a lot; do you never take your dog in the car to the woods/beach/park?
And if you don't live within walking distance and don't take them for a good off lead run then your dog probably isn't getting all the exercise they need.
The list could go on and on, but the difference again is that Circus animals have 24/7 care, and attention, because their owners are already at work with them.

I'm afraid the information from AR groups on a ban in the UK is incorrect, see how powerful false information can be when worded by the media? See how easy it is for them to feed your minds with what they want you to believe and how they want you to think? The real story is that they have announced that they have brought regulations in of standards in which they expect anyone keeping circus animals to meet. Of course, these requirements were already in place anyway, but not many bother to find out these things.

Funny how some people will read a misleading bit of propaganda, take it as gospel, run with it and go into a frenzy making it their business, wasting time and money, to save the world. But they won't go and do any research into what they have read to put their minds at rest. 

However, we see that sort of behaviour regularly exhibited by masses of badly informed people. It has happened throughout history. As odd and frustrating as it may be, we have to accept that it is part of what makes us human. However, one does not expect such behaviour from a group that is actively seeking the protection of animals from cruelty. We put it that the reason why the RSPCA supports the ban on wild animals in circus and will continue to persecute domestic animals in circuses is because it keeps them in the public eye. Their pet rescue operations are never going to be as sexy as their battle against "exploited circus animals". In the past two decades there have only been two successful high profile animal circus prosecutions and, despite the huge media storm generated by the animal rights groups involved, the results were pretty anti-climatic. The second one saw the plaintiff receiving no fine whatsoever and being accepted as a caring animal trainer and owner by the presiding judge, as well as revealing the criminal connections and unsavoury motives of the animal rights group concerned.  

By comparison in the last 18 months the RSPCA has been criticized for inciting terrorism, spending a ridiculous amount of its funds on another disproportionately small yet highly emotive cause, accused of unnecessarily killing hundreds of animals in its care and accused of bullying five people to the point where they took their own lives. 

We put it that it that by using the highly emotive image of exotic animals and by having a very small minority industry as their target any campaigning group has the double benefit of a) getting immediate attention from the media and b) having very little fear of repercussions or recriminations.   

Peta vs Animals

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
Or follow us on Twitter: @RousterAstley

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Born Free Foundation's Lack of Perspective

On 23rd June 2013 “The Sunday Mirror” reported that in the past 20 years wild African elephants have gone from a population 1.3million to less than 400,000.

This population decrease is mainly put down to poaching. The report portrayed the story of the Born Free Foundation’s rangers who put their lives on the line to protect these animals. What the report doesn’t mention is the fact that over those same 20 years the “Born Free Foundation” has received more than £20,000,000 in donations.

Many will remember the story of Anne the elephant. There was the court case and the alarming details brought up about the animal rights group, (and BFF “friends”[i]) Animal Defenders International.

With the media heavily involved, Anne the elephant ended up living in Longleat Safari Park, which satisfied the press that sponsored the move and appeased all but the most radical of animal rightists. However, few realize that there had been previous campaigns against the Roberts ownership of Anne.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Radio Leeds phone-in regarding the proposed Wild Animal ban.

Wes Butters discusses the review of the muted 2015 circus wild animal ban to permit the use of zebras and such like animals. Featuring comments from government spokesperson Anne McIntosh and for the circus community an interview with Chris Barltrop.

The The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee review can be found here:

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Operation was a success, but the patient died

Death in the animal kingdom, although a cruel reality, has always been unpleasant for those who possess a strong affinity with beings of another species.

Last week, on the 14th of June, we were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Thandora, a female African Elephant who, earlier this year, made headlines around the world in the most recent attempt the reintroduce a zoo animal back into the wild.

Sources say that Thandora was a native of the Kruger National Park and, between the ages of 4 and 5, was brought to Bloemfontein Zoo after being orphaned in a cull.
It was at her new home and over 20 years later, because of her wild birth, she was selected for the attempt of being reintroduced back into her natural habitat. This was accepted by Bloemfontein Zoo after pressure was put on the zoo by the NSPCA.
This charity, much like its British counterpart, publicly advocates animal welfare whilst covertly pushes an animal rights agenda. The involvement of this group, it would seem, marked the beginning of the end for her.

After an eventful "rehabilitation" - which involved Thandora breaking free from the makeshift enclosure, or "boma", she was being kept in to go in search of her home at the zoo - she was released. A month later, of her own free will, she shunned the herd of cows and a calf that the team behind her relocation were encouraging her to join with and instead, showed a keen interest in a group of bulls.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Horses for Courses but not Circuses

The UK government announced earlier this year that they wish to bring about a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.  Unable to support such a ban on animal-welfare grounds they decided to bring about the ban via a more ambiguous route citing "ethics".  The ban, if the proposed bill passed into law, means that Parliament will effectively ban all wild animals in circuses from the end of 2015.

The ban, of course, does not prohibit domestic animals like horses, which as those with knowledge of the origins of the British circus know, were the first animal species displayed in the circus ring.

Whilst a ban on wild animals is viewed by many as a sad dilution of the spectacle and skill of the circus, they could at least take solace that the horse would remain an integral part of the circus tradition.  Unfortunately, and some may say predictably, this is not the case.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The General Public & Animal Circuses

English: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Ci...
English: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus train in Safety Harbor, Florida, (U.S.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Often the debate is waged over whether the British and the Irish are more culturally akin to their European neighbours or whether they have more in common with their American cousins. Whichever you choose, there is little denying that the British invention of the traditional circus is still very much a part of the culture of Europe and America. Just across the channel, in the great nation of France, traditional circus is so loved that several large shows traditionally stand on the same ground at Christmas knowing that the general public will come to see all of them. Great circus families like Gruss and Pinder are household names and powerful brands. The great Cirque d'hiver ("Winter Circus") building still stands to this day and entertains packed houses on a regular basis.
Coming out of the south of France and into the Principality of Monaco and you will find that Circus has a very serious royal patronage. The Monte Carlo Circus Festival has been a well-attended, high class, annual festival and competition since 1976. Many wild animal acts have won the coveted silver and gold clowns over the years, and to this day are met by standing ovations. The festival was started by Prince Rainier III and is still going strong under Prince Albert II and Princess Stephanie. Most Italians know the Orfei circus family like the UK know the Beckhams, and other traditional circus families like the Tognis also enjoy similar celebrity status.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

RSPCA: Corporate Cannibals?

Mr Grant, do you accept that people in the RSPCA are frightened of you? What do you say to those who say you have created a “culture of fear” and that no one dare speak out against you?  The Spectator, 31 January, 2013

Many will be shocked at the suicide of a former RSPCA Inspector turned animal-welfare whistle blower Dawn Aubrey-Ward.

Aubrey-Ward had become appalled by what she considered the senseless killing of many unwanted but otherwise healthy animals by her then employers the RSPCA.  She was so uneasy with the fact that she decided to report her concerns to the UK's Daily Mail newspaper in December 2012

This was much to the annoyance of the RSPCA and according to The Times newspaper they responded by making public attacks on her character, implying that she was a liar motivated by malice.

The day before she took her life she posted on Facebook: “That’s it, I give up, I am unemployed, broke struggling and allegedly ‘damaged’.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Virginia McKenna and the Forgotten Story of "Born Free"

Cover of "Born Free"
Cover of Born Free
 The 18th of April bore witness to the televising of perhaps one of the most stunning examples of animal rights double standards that Rouster has seen for quite a while.
A new award ceremony known as the "British Animals Honours" bestowed perhaps their most prestigious award on Virginia McKenna for "Outstanding Contribution". Presenter, Paul O'Grady, who regularly books trained animals - both domestic and wild - for his television show "The Paul O'Grady Show", told the audience and viewers that "Every one of our winners deserves our admiration, but none more so than our final honour". Virginia McKenna is known to the majority of the general public as a loveable old movie actress who now dedicates most of her time to supposedly saving animals through her Born Free Foundation. McKenna's radical stance against both animal circuses and zoos is well-known. She has never worried about aligning herself with organizations like PETA* (who were declared a terrorist threat by USDA in 2009), the HSUS and others in the hugely controversial case against Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.

On several occasions, McKenna has declared that she wants all animals to be free from captivity. This is in the face of the fact that several wild animals are critically endangered in the wild with many facing immediate extinction and McKenna's own organization running sanctuaries that keep captive animals. Nevertheless, she raises millions by using images of exotic wild animals, often lions that can be immediately associated the film title that inspired the name of her "Born Free Foundation", and lives a very comfortable life for a film actress whose acting career has been, at best, very sporadic since the 1960s.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

Mark Pritchard - Conservative MP for The Wrekin

"There are quite a few wild animals still being used in British circuses I think they are housed in cruel and cramped conditions and transported in similar conditions.Mark Pritchard MP

The above statement was made by MP Mark Pritchard on BBC local radio when being interviewed about the proposed draft legislation to ban wild animals in UK circuses by December 2015.

Pritchard has been an active campaigner against circuses for many years and he secured a debate in June 2011 to try and ban wild animals in UK circuses. 

Unfortunately, one would have hoped that by holding such strong opinions Pritchard would be keen to undertake some form of direct fact-finding examination of his beliefs in the above statement.  But, to the best of our knowledge, Mr Pritchard has not set foot in a contemporary circus to see how the animals are accommodated, transported or trained despite several invitations to do so by both circus proprietors and animal trainers.

Therefore, one asks: how can he make judgements about the health and welfare of these animals?  It seems sadly that he is happy to make a judgement based solely on the propaganda of various animal-rights groups that has been fed to him.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Old Habits Die Hard

From scantily clad "lettuce ladies" to allegations of slavery made against Sea World, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), has always taken the P.T. Barnum approach to publicity. This is somewhat ironic given that one of their favourite targets is Barnum's legacy. However, the group that proudly says "We are complete press sluts", were reluctant to claim that any publicity is good publicity when the  CCF (Center for Consumer Freedom) reported that the infamous animal rights group has killed nearly 30,000 animals.

The CCF, a civil liberties advocacy group, has always been a thorn in PETA's side. Using records kept by The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) they are able to publish annual reports showing the amount of cats and dogs taken in, rehomed, and euthanized by PETA. The most recent numbers show that between 1998 and 2012, the group received 33,658 animals and that 29,398 (92.4%) of those were destroyed.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Real Animal Circus - an Interview with...

It is a sad fact that most of the “information” available to the public about animals in Circus is generated by people and organisations with no links whatsoever nor personal knowledge of Circus.

Extremists (who believe that any human interaction with animals is an abomination) use ancient, foreign or doctored photos to “prove” that animals are being mistreated. Organisations, whose funding depends on the public believing that animals need their financial support, launch campaigns based on catchy slogans and very little factual content. The public are bombarded with misinformation trying to convince them that atrocities are taking place – and that they need to pay, pay and pay some more to stop them.

Meanwhile, Circus animals and trainers are subjected to what can only be classified as terrorism.
Verbal abuse, threats, vandalism and even attacks on the animals themselves – the extremists are willing to take any steps to “stop the cruelty”. It is a mad situation.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

All round bungling leads to OTT cow killing

Our favourite anti-animal circus newspaper in the UK, The Daily Mail, reported on a case of coordinated bungling with an appropriately clumsy piece of journalism. The paper, which is considered by most to be a "middle market" publication despite its blatant politicizing and sensationalism, penned an article that even contains a typo in its headlines:

"Operation runaway cow: Four marksmen, eight police officers and five patrol cars to catch and gun down (after several misses) 'and' unlikely fugitive" 

Paul Bentley, The Daily Mail journalist, described this escaped herbivore as a "female cow". Rouster was unaware that there was another gender for a cow. We have saved the whole piece offline (see above) in case any editing has been done to this piece.  You will note that The report describes how a runaway cow was gunned down by two Police marksman in order to preserve public safety. This action was done on the advice of the RSPCA, the same "animal welfare" charity that has recently been exposed in late December for the unnecessary slaughter of a vast amount of the animals it supposedly "rescued".

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Gold Coast City Council from 15 March, 2008
Gold Coast City Council from 15 March, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rouster apologizes for the tardiness of this report. It has been in their inbox for a long time now, but various commitments have taken up the team's time. However, we are delighted to report on a victory for common sense, rational thought and science in favour of animal circus. The following is a list of events that led up to the repeal of a nearly four year-old ban.

29th January 2013

July 2009

Former Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke proposed a ban (‘due to animal welfare concerns’) on any circuses with exotic animals being able to set up and show on GC City Council Land.
Current councillor Dawn Crichlow (Division 6), who was also present at the 2009 council meeting when the ban was passed, reported that there was “literally no debate” on the topic and she was amazed that the ban was passed simply because Ron Clarke did not agree with exotic animals being in circuses.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Jennifer Lawrence versus PeTA

Jennifer Lawrence on the red carpet at the 83r...
Jennifer Lawrence on the red carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is an all-too-familiar and tragic story. PeTA (People for the ethical Treatment of Animals) - a group that has routinely been exposed to be a radical animal rights group, categorized by the US Department of Agriculture as a legitimate terrorist threat and shown to slaughter 89.4% of the animals it supposedly rescued in 2012  despite a $36 million budget - acquire the support of yet another highly influential person They have recruited a huge number of Hollywood stars along with rock stars, politicians and other strong media voices. However, starlet Jennifer Lawrence has revealed she has a rare celebrity backbone and decided to face the AR behemoth with her now notorious statement: "Screw PETA!"

Lawrence's case, as revealed in this article by The Huffington Post, is a classic example of PeTA putting emotional propaganda ahead of real issues. Lawrence stars in a film that is about personal responsibility. Said responsibility extends to having to feed a family in desperate times and also looking after animals. Her character is forced to skin a dead squirrel (the real animal's carcass was bought from a legitimate hunter for the film).

Friday, 15 March 2013

RSPCA Prosecutions come under scrutitny

English: Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General ...
English: Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General of the United Kingdom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The RSPCA continue to attract negative publicity as Dominic Grieve, the Government's attorney general, recommends, in a public letter to the charity's chief executive, Gavin Grant, that the animal organization seeks an independent review before making prosecutions in court. This caught the attention of MP Simon Hart who said, "The attorney general's letter is as close to saying 'sort yourselves out' as he can reasonably go. There is now a really good opportunity for the RSPCA to demonstrate that it is an animal welfare organization, not an animal rights one, and to stop pursuing political vendettas at the public's expense".

The Spectator poses questions to the RSPCA

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Future is Orange?

The campaigns against animals in circuses use many and various methods to promote their agendas. One popular one is the brand boycott. Goods and service providers are very aware of their standing within the minds of the public and try hard not to be associated with brands that may be considered unethical. 

The most recent example in the UK is the mobile phone company Orange who were apparently persuaded to drop a promotional ticket offer to the UK's Zippos Circus by the self proclaimed vegan animal-rights group The Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS). 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Three Little Pigs...

In recent months we have had the dubious pleasure of chronicling a variety of activities on the part of our friends the Animal Rights activists, ranging from the unwise to the simply criminal. If it was not for them, our lives would be very dull indeed.
American AR groups paying someone to bear false witness against a US Circus and getting gratifyingly sued; the ADI in this country hiring a criminal to break and enter into private property; the RSPCA, seemingly the bastion of Animal Welfarism, turning coat and clamouring for the vigilante punishment of farm workers – one does not know whether to laugh or cry. We have always been aware of the AR groups being capable of behaviours and attitudes well outside the scope of what we file under “normal”.
However, they still keep surprising us. This time, they have ventured into what can only be described as “completely insane”.

Picture this: A tiny school in a rural part of Suffolk decides that it is important for its pupils to understand where food comes from. In a county where pig farms are abundant, they elect to rear three piglets on their premises. The children will look after the animals and watch them grow until they are ready for slaughter. In this way, they will learn about the lives of the animals and also forge a mental link between the meat on their plate and the creatures which it comes from.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

What, How and Why?

Trying to define the art form that is animal training is like giving a description of the visual features of a sunset to someone who was born without the gift of sight, no words can do justice to such a magnificent spectacle. Unlike any scientific method, it cannot be completely explained with just words. With that in mind, the following is the best attempt I can make to share with you our tradition, passion, and way of life.

I shall start by describing what we do. As any animal lover knows, to form a bond with a being of a different species is to bridge the gap between worlds, and to be able to communicate your wishes to your pet dog, cat, horse, or any other animal, and to have them fulfilled without coercion, is an extension of that bond. It is widely known that teaching your pet to perform certain actions and behaviours, whether it be house training, retrieving toys, rolling over, or jumping over or through obstacles, is highly beneficial to its wellbeing. The idea that this principle is limited to house pets and does not apply in a travelling circus environment is absurd, at best. Scientific studies have shown repeatedly that dogs, cats, horses, camels, llamas, various species of reptile, big cats and many other animals not only DO NOT suffer when living on a circus, but, in certain cases, even thrive better than in zoos and stables. And what gives circuses the upper hand over zoos? The physical activity and mental stimulation known as performing. That and the constant change of sights, sounds and smells help to keep our animals happy and healthy.