"Nellie" the elephant may well have packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus but in the case of "Merlin" the donkey this never happened because he was never in a circus in the first place.
Anyone who was on Facebook with an interest in circuses on the night of 4 August 2015 would have been alerted to to a link by the donkey and horse sanctuary in Cornwall called the Flicka Foundation. In a posting, this group made an allegation that one of their donkeys "Merlin" was rescued from an abusive situation in a circus. The Foundation also made various "factual" claims regarding abuse in circuses in general. Unfortunately they could not provide any references or evidence supporting this position. Due to this a number of circus supporters politely commented on this thread posting various facts and examples of why we did not believe that in general circuses with animals are by their nature cruel.
It became apparent after a short period of time that the Flicka Foundation's Facebook moderators were having none of this and they swiftly deleted all comments and links that were in any way demonstrative of the misinformation they were posting.
One of the most striking issues during this discourse was that the Foundation absolutely refused to make any comment as regards which circus "Merlin" had come from. Today, it transpires from the BBC that "Merlin" did not come from a circus but was purchased for £700 from a funfair.
Rouster can only speculate why the Flicka Foundation had chosen to mislead its supporters regarding this matter. However, a brief review of their website does disclose that they do support very strongly the ideology of animal-rights and as well as being against circuses they are also against marine wildlife parks that displayed dolphins and various other zoological institutions. Which does seem strange that none of this is mentioned in the organisations brief to the Charity Commission in which they say they are involved in:
The rescue & rehabilitation of horses, donkeys & other animals from cruelty, neglect or abandonment or elderly animals that require veterinary care and attention. Facilitating under privileged, disabled & sick children to interact with rescue horses & donkeys, facilitating many groups including the elderly, homes, clubs & schools, heart, stroke, cancer victims for therapy rehabilitation
The following day all evidence of this thread and the claims made by the Flicka Foundation regarding abuse in circuses and more importantly "Merlin's" provenance has disappeared completely. Fortunately, one of the circus supporters had the quick thinking of screen capturing the initial posts and allegations made by this organisation which are reproduced here.
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 https://www.facebook.com/groups/223570581049199
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