A peaceful protest was attended by approximately forty people on in Clonakilty last Sunday afternoon, as demonstrators held banners and distributed leaflets opposing the use of animal acts in circuses.
The protest took place at the entrance of Clonakilty Showgrounds where Courtney Brothers Circus was performing for two days, with acts which include both tigers and elephants.
The protest was particularly poignant, as Clonakilty made the news last year for the highly publicised Jungle City Exhibition, which ran for several weeks featuring life-sized sculptures of elephants and tigers, painted by local artists and children.
The exhibition was aimed at raising awareness of the increasing vulnerability of these endangered species and their natural habitat.
The protest was organised by ARAN (Animal Rights Action Network), whose reputation as a well respected and highly professional charitable organisation has grown over the years, largely thanks to the continued hard work and commitment of it's founder Mr John Carmody, and the dedication of its supporters. The organisation has provided much evidence of the suffering of circus animals, brought about largely by the stress of confinement and boredom, as they travel from town to town.
A local spokesperson for ARAN commented: ‘It is somewhat ironic to say the least, that Clonakilty businesses have benefited and continue to benefit from huge publicity generated by The Jungle City theme, and the animal sculptures which remain on display throughout the town, and draw in many tourists.
‘And yet the local Council saw fit to over rule the previous Mayor and local Councillor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin, when he tried to implement a ban on animal circuses appearing n the town earlier this year. This can only damage Clonakilty’s reputation as a particularly forward thinking town, thanks largely to it being Ireland’s first Fair Trade Town, and it hosting an array of festivals each year including the Random Acts of Kindness Festival which took place just a few weeks ago.’
Councillor Ó Súilleabháin has promised to raise the issue again in September, when he very much hopes that the Town Council reconsider their previous decision and implement a ban on Animal Circus in Clonakilty.