Animal welfare row reignites as circus rolls in

JPCT-09-06-11-Great British Circus
JPCT-09-06-11-Great British Circus

ONE of the UK’s last circuses to use wild animals will arrive at Dial Post tomorrow (Tuesday).

The Great British Circus features lions, tigers, camels and zebras, among others, and will perform a number of shows at the West Sussex Showground from June 7 to June 19.

The impending visit has generated serious concern among members of the public as well as wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation, which is based in Horsham.

Will Travers, CEO of the Born Free Foundation, said: “The use of these animals is highly controversial, with the great majority of the public calling for an end to such a spectacle. Over 94 per cent of those who responded to a public consultation called for an end to the use of wild animals in circuses. The circus industry, however, remains defiant in the face of such public opinion, belittling and ignoring the justifiable concerns of many worried citizens.”

The Born Free Foundation has long campaigned for a ban to be implemented on the use of wild animals in circuses and believes that it would be the only humane and sensible approach.

Mr Travers added: “We believe that the UK’s continued failure to ban the outdated practice of using wild animals in circuses, whilst many countries have already done so, undermines the UK’s international reputation on animal welfare. We are calling on the Coalition Government to listen to the people, not look for excuses, and implement a ban.”

Mr Travers is also urging the public to think twice before buying tickets to the event.

“We urge the local people to think very carefully before spending their leisure time and hard-earned money at a circus that uses wild animals. A trip to such a circus may be a brief moment of fantasy for us but represents just one more day in a lifetime of confinement for the animals involved, with sporadic access to “exercise” cages, repeated transport and lengthy housing in off-view winter quarters.”

The Great British Circus’ website insists it goes to great lengths to ensure the best care for its animals.

It says: “The Great British Circus provides the best and most practical accommodation for our animals. We construct purpose built, state of the art, travelling accommodation and ensure all our livestock is gently and patiently trained using positive reinforcement. We ensure the animals’ diet is wholesome, varied and nutritious. With a network of four experienced veterinary surgeons, blanket health care is possible around the country.”

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