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, 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.

Extremists who think that it is appropriate to throw fireworks at horses to spook them prior to a performance “so that the public will know how stressed they are”, are unwilling to visit the same horses in their stables to see that they are not stressed or mistreated at all, because “they do not want to co-operate with animal abusers”. There is no reasoning with them, no explaining that the “information” they are operating on does not have any connection with the real world.

Unfortunately, in the press and out on the street, it is usually those who shout the loudest, with the least to say, who get the most attention. To redress this situation, we will be interviewing people actually involved in animal Circus – these are people who know the reality of performing animals and are more than willing to make it public knowledge. These are people whose work, unlike that of the extremists, takes place in the light, in full view of the public. These are people who are more than willing to show members of the public how their animals are taken care of, because they have nothing to hide and in fact are proud of their work.

If you do not believe their words, then go and visit the next animal Circus to come near you, and look for yourself. Make up your own mind based on observations, not propaganda. Do the animals look clean, healthy and happy?
(I could take a cheap shot and ask you to make the same assessment of the protesters who are likely to be congregating outside, but no, that would be too easy...)

An interview with - Felicia Frisco

What is your involvement with performing animals? 

I work as a circus tiger trainer and handler and also present the elephants act.

What is your family background? 

My Grandfather was a zoo director and animal trainer and on my mother’s side of the family there are many animal trainers.

Can you tell us more about your work?

Taking care of animals is a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week job including cleaning, feeding, training and exercising them.  It is hard, but I do it because it is something I love and it is one of the very few traditional forms of entertainment still around...  “Family night” shouldn't consist of kids sitting around playing video games; it should be families getting out of the house together and having a good time laughing and being entertained by live performances with people and animals doing what they love.

What is your opinion of the current campaigns against Circus?

I think everyone has a right to their opinion, but to state that all animals in Circus suffer is a horrible lie.
All animals have different emotions, so the activists cannot claim they know what every animals feels.  You do not beat your dog into fear when training it so why would you beat and risk injuring an animal that you cannot replace and that helps make your living? You don't.

Every responsible trainer knows that positive reinforcement is how you train because you cannot safely handle an animal who fears you.  It becomes extremely dangerous when you have a animal that is nervous of you, so the accusations of abuse are nonsensical.  Cruel things may have happened in isolated cases back in the distant past or in foreign countries, but that is no reason to launch accusations at all modern Circuses and trainers.  Times have changed, animal training and animal care have changed and will continue to evolve. People need to accept that and stop believing the lies spread by Animal Rights activists with irrelevant, dated or doctored images.

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

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