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, 6 May 2015

Death on the beach

Photo by Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership Scheme
A sad story about the failure to rescue and rehabilitate a porpoise on the British coast despite the efforts of many was recently reported at Burnham-on-Sea. However, perhaps even sadder is the fact that this animal is possibilities of life have being curtailed by the insidious encroachment of animal-rights into the animal welfare movement in the UK.

Not many people are aware that since the demise via regulation of dolphinaria in the UK there is no available facilities that are able (or more disturbingly willing) to try and rehabilitate stranded cetaceans on the British coast. Of course, many of these animals may well be too large for any sustained and dedicated rehabilitation process but certainly smaller cetaceans such as the harbour porpoise and smaller dolphins this prospect is viable.

Certainly, in other European countries such as the Netherlands rehabilitation facilities such as SOS Dolphin (SOS Dolfijn) rescue many small cetaceans (primarily harbour porpoises) and rehabilitate them with the majority of animals deemed fit to be released back to the wild environment.

The situation in the UK is very different. Stranded whales and dolphins are assessed and if they cannot be refloated and swim off back into the wild within a prescribed period hours the animals are then killed.

Why has this situation arisen particularly as the UK does have a number of aquatic mammal rehabilitation centres that could be used for such a purpose with the smaller species of whale. However after consulting a number of colleagues within the zoological world Rouster has come to the conclusion that this action is down specifically to the infiltration of the ethos of animal-rights within the U.K.'s animal rescue services. The crux of the problem is that these groups would rather see the inevitable small number of animals that are perceived to have underlying health problems – and that would not be suitable for release after rehabilitation – would be better off dead than being in the environment of an aquarium or zoo.  Moreover, the leading cetacean rescue group in the UK British Divers Marine Life Rescue are members to animal-rights group ENCAP and its Dolphinaria-Free Europe campaign.

 Of course the groups may argue that killing (euthanizing) an animal that is suffering is an appropriate and ethical thing to do. Rouster does not disagree with this position however many of these animals are not given a chance at dedicated rehabilitation. Moreover, arguments that there are no facilities for the long-term care of harbour porpoises in the UK may be correct but there certainly existed least two facilities (Harderwijk and Texel) in the Netherlands that could accommodate a small number of animals that might be deemed unreleasable.

Therefore, Rouster's advice to any sick or disabled small whale or dolphin is that if you are going to strand in need help you are better off doing this in Germany or the Netherlands not the UK. Here you will be killed on the beach if you are too ill to swim away when you are pushed back to sea.

Rescued porpoise featured on SOS Dolfijn's Facebook page. The animal arrived for rehabilitation in January and is making good progress with a positive prediction that it will be released back to the wild. If this animal had stranded in the UK would be have been killed within 24 hours.

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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