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Thursday, September 10, 2009

GREAT BRITISH CIRCUS DEFENDS ANIMALS

Great British Circus defends use of animals
Published Tuesday 25 August 2009 at 15:35 by Chloe Thomas

Officials from the circus industry have moved to defend the use of animals in live performance, following the release of footage by an animal welfare group showing the mistreatment of an elephant at the Great British Circus
Earlier this month, Animal Defenders International unveiled a video which was filmed in May and appeared to show the animals being chained up and beaten in the face by their keeper. The group has called for the government to ban the use of all wild animals in travelling circuses.
However, Chris Barltrop, chairman of Equity’s Variety Advisory Committee and a spokesperson for the Great British Circus, said that the incident was a one-off and the organisation had already - prior to the release of the video - dismissed the man who had been guilty of the abuse.
He told The Stage: “The circus is a culturally valuable institution and we would welcome increased surveillance of our members of staff to prove to the British public that we are working to high standards. The Great British Circus is conducting a thorough investigation of this matter and will take all necessary measures to address any concerns. The circus has also initiated a review of elephant handling by all remaining personal to ensure that our normal high standards are always met”.
An independent paper prepared for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in November 2007, which examined the use of animals in the circus, found that there was no evidence to suggest that animals used by circuses were any worse off than animals kept in other captive environments like zoos.
However, ADI claims that the new evidence means the government should reconsider its stance.
Chief executive Jan Creamer said: “Making a token gesture to sack a temporary worker is not going to keep these elephants from harm. The circus breeds a culture of violence and confinement. In the name of entertainment, these vulnerable animals are beaten, poked with metal hooks and shackled for hours on end each day. We urge DEFRA to act quickly to take these animals away from this torment and the government must confirm their commitment to animal welfare by banning the use of wild animals in travelling circuses once and for all.”

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