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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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Rouster’s Top 10 Hypocritical Anti-Circus Celebrities (Number 2)

Ricky Gervais 

– 28% of the vote


Ricky Gervais began his career as a pop singer, but later reinvented himself as a comedian/chat show host. He was part of a new wave of comedy writers/performers who embraced Steve Coogan and Larry David’s pseudo-realistic brand of humour. Along with long-time writing partner, Steven Merchant, Gervais made his way into mainstream acceptance via “The Office” TV series then “Extras”, “The Ricky Gervais Show”, “Idiot Abroad” and the movie, “Cemetery Junction”.  Most of their work on “The Office” and “Extras” received high critical acclaim, and they both gained awards. Gervais also has toured with several stand-up comedy shows. Gervais went on to create the tragi-comic series “Derek”, the children’s books “Flanimals” and also starred and guest starred in a few feature length US films. 

Why are they anti-circus? 

Ricky Gervais showed little to no sign of being opposed to animals in captivity or circus during his initial ascent. It was only during his podcast “The Ricky Gervais Show”, which was turned into an animated TV show that the first signs of animal rights indoctrination surfaced. Here and there Gervais would make insensitive remarks about people who had been attacked by chimpanzees in a zoo alongside his belief that keeping the animals in this environment was wrong. These views often seemed to be in direct and what appeared to be surprised reaction from Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. This became far more pronounced in the comedy travel show, “Idiot Abroad”, when Gervais began ranting about how wrong it was for a certain family to keep a pygmy hippo, which Karl Plikington argued was perfectly happy. Even when it came to using huskies to pull sleighs, Gervais felt he needed to make points about the animals’ welfare, which were unintentionally embarrassing. 

Ricky Gervais was one of the most vocal supporters of the ADI (Animal Defenders International) petition to Downing Street on the ban of wild animals in circus. When it was announced that this bill would go through, he was reported to be celebrating the verdict in several newspapers and also announced his “victory” on Twitter. He told ADI, “Animal Defenders International’s recent footage of Anne the elephant being beaten graphically displays why the government should ban wild animals in circuses. I am appalled that wild animals are still kept in circuses and fully support the call for a ban. It is high time that Government got on and implemented one.” 

Gervais’s support of animal rights philosophy earned him a lot of attention from the various groups. He donated a signed copy of his “Flanimals” book to CAPS (Captive Animal Protection Society) for them to auction. He has teamed up with the world’s largest animals rights organization, the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), putting his name to at least one of their campaigns. So far his association with animal rights groups has culminated in PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) making him their 2013 Person of the Year. 

It is unknown why Gervais suddenly made such an abrupt turn from being a self-aware animal lover and endorsement of logic and reason to becoming a supporter of such extremist groups. However, we can see in his career whereabouts the turn took place. 

Why is this celebrity a hypocrite?

Gervais’s high placing was really quite shocking and is probably an emotional response to the surprise several circus people felt about his inclusion in the first place. The series “Extras” showed someone who understood how badly people could be portrayed in the media and it satirized trial by media. Gervais is a champion of science and rationality, including the sceptical movement, which has often been responsible for exposing PETA’s myriad of sins (including their killing of the vast majority of animals they “rescue”). To top it all he has worked with many trained animals. There were trained wild animals in “Stardust”, “Night at the Museum” and “Night at the Museum 2”. Even an episode of “Derek” had Gervais going around a zoo with the ZSL (Zoological Society of London) logo in full view on actor’s tee-shirts. For Rouster, however, the poster for his “Animals” stand-up comedy concert with tiger cubs, sending up Michael Jackson’s album cover of “Thriller”, will remain the lasting image of this celebrity’s hypocrisy.  

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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