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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Monday, 19 August 2013

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".

The show didn't feature Peter Jolly's, who are hosting Thomas's act, but Circus Mondeo, an animal circus that features ungulates (camels, zebras and reindeer) that come under the new regulations and will be banned if it the proposition comes into force.

Mondeo's animal trainer, Carol Macmanus, aptly defended her profession, happily showed the interviewer around her animals and explained how the circus has been able to more than meet the new DEFRA regulations. Meanwhile Rona Brown, representing the Classical Circus Association, exposed the hypocrisy of the proposed ban and the CCA's intention to take the case to the Court of Human Rights.

The show also features Ros Clubb, the RSPCA's senior scientific office, who has become a regular representative of the charity's argument against the use of wild animals in circus. Ros Clubb's rather waffling argument referenced science without citing any studies. Of course, as we all know, the only two detailed and comprehensive scientific studies on British circuses occurred in 1989 (Worthington) and 2006 (Radford), where the conclusions were that wild animals in circus were in line with the welfare of a modern zoo. Clubb's argument essentially fell on the "ethical" argument, which cannot really be argued by science and is a highly subjective matter.

This is perhaps one of the best examples of the fact that the RSPCA are a political group, arguing for a radical cause. Clubb compounds this point when she doesn't recognize the interviewer's argument that circus animal are no different than zoo animals in captivity, and instead discusses the differences between domestic and wild animals.  Does this imply that the RSPCA might be coming after zoos next? It would not be surprising. Their animal rights bedfellows - The Born Free Foundation, Animal Defenders International, Captive Animal Protection Society et al -  make no bones about their direct opposition to zoos. More evidence of this radical and uncompromising stance was shown with Ros's response to the proposal that only some wild animals be banned from the list. Animals kept on would possibly mean species like camels and reindeer, which are domesticated in their own country. This undermines Ros's point about making a distinction between wild and domestic animals. She also makes the point that the RSPCA are in favour of a ban of all animals in circuses.

It is interesting to note that  the RSPCA are introduced after "animal rights groups" are cited as the main opposition to the animals in circuses. The RSPCA, of course, are supposed to be an animal welfare charity, but as several newspapers have noted, they are behaving far more like an animal rights group.

BBC Radio 4 - You and Yours

This comes after the RSPCA has been hit by yet more challenges to its position as a charity. In her opinion column Libby Purves cites the bullying and inflated salaries of RSPCA members today in The Times.

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
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