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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Friday, 21 March 2014

Animal Rights and The Big Lie

Rouster welcomes articles from within the Circus community and we have been sent this piece by Aerial artiste and Painter, Terry Bunton.

In my ever growing historical paintings art business, I use my exhibition events to further campaign to promote and help to preserve Traditional Circus with animals. The feedback I have received has told me in no uncertain terms that the vast majority of the public want to see good quality circus with lots of animal content. I have never had any particularly bad feedback from anti-circus people. Those who have been dubious have been taught the truth informatively and you can guess that the fastest selling paintings of my originals are those of particularly wild and exotic animal acts. So why have the antis seemingly come so  far, when I know the general feeling is support for, and a love of, traditional circus with animals, which is a part of our generic National culture and memory bank? 

I know that queues are often longer on traditional animal circuses, and have often heard people tell me that they do not go to circus anymore, because they think they have all done away with animal acts!

Speaking as a former trapeze artist and as a circus painter, I want to share what I have learned from leading campaigner’s for and against traditional circus, the public in general and my own observations from 25 years working with top circus families in the United Kingdom and across Europe. 

But firstly, let me share with you my observations on the obvious correlation between the big lie of the Nazi Party and that of today’s animal rights movement, how the AR have used the big lies workings and how we can, with reverse psychology and the blatant truth, undo the huge progress of the big lie slowly but surely. Here’s how it works: (it does relate back to circus culture so please stay with me on this)

By the time Nazism arose in Germany during the 1930’s anti-Semitism was nothing new, not by a long shot. The Jewish people had suffered a long history of prejudice and persecution and although the Nazis perpetuated centuries old lies, this time those lies would have their most devastating effects. Like never before, "The Final Solution" a sweeping national policy, sought to eliminate Jews from the face of the Earth. 

To accomplish this, Adolf Hitler and his minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels launched a massive campaign to convince the German people that Jews were their enemies. Having taken over the press, they spread lies blaming Jews for all of Germany`s problems, including the loss of World War 1. One outrageous lie dating back to the Middle Ages claimed that Jews engaged in the ritual killings of Christian children and used their blood in the unleavened bread eaten at Passover. 

Using Jews as the scapegoat (in a similar way that Animal rights activists use Circus as the scapegoat in the march towards their goal of total animal apartheid) Hitler and his cronies orchestrated what they openly called, within the Nazi party, "The Big Lie". The theory states that no matter how big the lie is (or more precisely BECAUSE it is so big), people will believe it if you repeat it often enough. 

Everyone tells small lies. Hitler reasoned that few had the guts to tell colossal lies (source: Hoffer). Because a big lie is SO unlikely, people will come to accept it, if they are told it again and again.

This theory helps us to understand so many of the lies throughout history. Although we have barely scratched the surface of all those lies that deserve a dishonourable mention, you can now see how the animal rights movement use the big lie in the way they do, attacking anyone who dares to disagree with their ideals, in a dogmatic and personal way rather than with proven scientific argument.

A similar technique is used by PeTA when talking to circus lovers on their way into RBB&B. PeTA disciples tell them to take photos whenever (note whenever, not if) they see a bullhook being used on the elephant herds abusively. Their hope is that even with the most ardent circus supporting member of the public, this subconsciously plants the seed of doubt that can convert a circus goer into a circus hater. They openly talk to each other about this and other such techniques on their web pages. 

Luckily for us, PeTA are fast hanging themselves for ludicrous campaigns such as asking the Whitehouse to stop boiling lobster, their amazing attempt to have five Orca’s (“killer whales”) categorised as “non-human slaves”, and even trying to get the video cartoon game Super Mario banned simply because Mario wore a fur coat in the last version.
However, Caps, ADI the Born Free Foundation and others also use the big lie theory to speed along their rather shocking agendas. 

The general public, circus fans and followers have all looked up video footage of circus animal acts at various times on YouTube. It astounds me that in the comments section under nearly all of them, the animal rights movement have planted their version of the big lie, and then gone on to reference videos they have recorded of circus animal abuse, that in fact prove nothing being as they pay experts to edit, dub sound, use their own people backstage and have, on at least two occasions, bribed circus employees to abuse the animals in their care for the sake of staging cruelty in order to perpetuate the big lie so that the donations keep rolling in.

I have often challenged this kind of tactic with such superb websites and blogs as this one and also melissaasmith.hubpages which includes important blogs on the “sad zoo” theory. Melissa’s blog has been posted elsewhere, but when it is placed beneath a YouTube circus video full of abusive animal rights rhetoric, it usually goes unchallenged.
It argues that due to so much brainwashing by the Animal Rights movement, the general public are now so easily led when they don’t have the experience or expertise as trainers and keepers do, that animals are sad and bored when in fact they merely LOOK sad and bored from a human context. This is simply classical
anthropomorphism (morphing wild and exotic animal’s behaviour with human emotions, to persuade the public that they have human attributes & needs) and is the same technique of the big lie against circuses and zoos that Hitler and his party used against the Jews. 

Once the public have been told the truth and these comments are challenged (and I do it regularly), you can see the penny drop on their faces. I go about it by asking them to think about the fact that whenever a canine puts its head on the ground it looks sad in a human context. I then point out the "fixed smile", often referred to by animal rights activists campaigning against performing dolphins. Bottle-nosed dolphins in particular "appear" to have a fixed almost human smile, even when they are killing porpoises to eat, in the wild. Snakes can be seen to have this same expression when they open their mouths. 

There are other animals, particularly elephants and big cats that do not need to do anything in particular to "look sad" in a HUMAN context, which of course they are not. When it is pointed out to people who think they are therefore seeing a sad looking animal in captivity that were they to witness an elephant, or feline with a beaming Colgate smile on its face, they would completely freak out. Of course, this expression is a biological impossibility for these species. 

So, “A Rat is a Pig, is a Dog, is a Boy”?
No, of course not.
This is a phrase widely used in the big lie of the animal rights movement, but we simply cannot ascribe human emotions to animal expressions.

It is up to everyone who enjoys seeing well cared for animals trained or displayed in captivity to challenge the big lie with the big truth, until the big lie is seen for what it was in the 1930’s once more.

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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