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Monday, April 4, 2011

Circus show is 'cruel'

Monday 4 Apr, 2011 A ROW has erupted under the big top of an Abu Dhabi circus amid claims the show, which sees a lion tamer jam his head into the jaws of a big cat, is cruel to animals. A number of spectators at the Mongolian Animals Circus walked out mid-performance last weekend and dozens of lobbyists have set up online protests against the travelling troupe after concerns were raised over the treatment of the cats, dogs, lions and tigers in the show. Katy Lifei is among those who have written to show promoters Sky Events calling for the animals to be taken off the bill, whilst urging the public to boycott the event. In an open letter to the firm she said: “You are promoting a practice that is not ethical or moral. “Animals belong in their natural habitat. They suffer immeasurably in circuses like the one you support. Their life is lived in cages - moved from one place to another, through hot and cold.” The Mongolian Animals Circus tours worldwide and a staple of its line-up is a boxing kangaroo made to don gloves, shorts and boots while it goes head-to-head in the ring with a handler. However, a spokesman for Sky Events said the kangaroo section has been shelved for the twice-daily Abu Dhabi sell-out show. The spokesman said: “It is not the only circus in the world that uses animals. We are fully booked every night. The big cat show is the same as any other in any other circus. The people who are complaining have not seen it. If they attended they would know it is not cruel.” But a number of people who did visit the circus at Zayed Sports City claim they witnessed lions being beaten with sticks when they deviated from the rehearsed show - allegations Sky Events denies. “It did not happen,” the spokesman said. “This is a family circus. There is no cruelty - it’s mainly dogs and cats.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) backs a blanket ban on the use of animals in circuses whether they are wild or domesticated. “Animals aren’t actors, spectacles to imprison and gawk at, or circus clowns,” a spokesman said. “Yet thousands of these animals are forced to perform confusing tricks under the threat of physical punishment.” The circus will run in Abu Dhabi until April 30.

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