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, 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

1 comment:

  1. had my attention drawn to this RSPCA advertising campaign recently. Double standards much?

    'The video is the RSPCA's Big Beg TV advertisement, which shows animals doing trained tricks on command, for the entertainment of people and using those trick displays to obtain/raise money.

    When circuses do it, we are accused of exploitation and "subjecting them to indignity", "using them unjustly for entertainment purposes".

    The photo shows animals dressed up for the entertainment of people.

    If a circus dressed those dogs up in exactly the same way as the RSPCA have, we would be accused of objectifying and ridiculing them.

    Once again it highlights that circus people who own animals are unfairly targeted and labeled in ways which other animal owners don't experience.

    The quotes from the RSPCA websites are current as of the 7th August 2013.


    The RSPCA would prefer that all animals (including domestic animals) not be used in circuses to further ensure that they aren’t portrayed in ways that may objectify them or subject them to indignity or ridicule.

    (Highlighted in green on the RSPCA ACT website).


    "The exploitation of animals for entertainment has been a long standing concern for the RSPCA, particularly circus animals which are subjected to forced training, performing to a timetable and performing acts which do not come naturally to them".

    (RSPCA Victoria Official Media Release March 2013)


    "Furthermore, the public, and more importantly children, do not learn anything beneficial from viewing these animals perform tricks".
    RSPCA Victoria President Dr Hugh Wirth.

    (RSPCA Victoria Official Media Release March 2013)


    RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of animals for any kind of entertainment, exhibition or performance where injury, suffering or distress is likely to be caused. Animals used in performances must be treated with respect and not objectified or subjected to indignity or ridicule.

    (RSPCA Australia Website).