Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Animals used in Olympics opening ceremony despite opposition

Posted: 6 September 2012. Updated: 6 September 2012

The use of over 100 animals in the Olympics opening ceremony in London was met with opposition by ADI and other animal protection groups, who sent a joint letter of protest to the Olympic Organising Committee.

In an opening scene which the organisers said would represent “a traditional and idyllic view of the British countryside”, twelve horses, three cows, two goats, ten chickens, ten ducks, nine geese, seventy sheep and three sheep dogs were used.

The huge crowds these animals were confronted with, coupled with the high levels of noise and flashing lights, would have been an extremely stressful experience for them, despite any assurances to the contrary.

ADI were also concerned that the animals would endure unnecessary transport to and from the show at a time when traffic in the area was expected to be congested. Given the scale of the event we anticipated that the animals would be on site well in advance of their performance and would be kept in very limited temporary facilities since the site has not been designed for animals.

ADI called on London 2012 to do the right thing and cancel the use of animals for the opening ceremony and instead proceed with a cruelty-free alternative which can be enjoyed by everyone. Supporters rallied to support our call and voice their opposition.

In a response to our joint letter, the organisers said that the animals would not be sent to sanctuaries – as film director Danny Boyle had pledged to animal groups ahead of the ceremony – but would instead return to “future roles in movie and theatre”.

After the ceremony, it was revealed in The Independent that 1st Choice Animals “one of the industry’s leading providers of animals for film and TV performances” had provided the animals and that they had spent a year preparing for the ceremony.

Animals should never be used for our entertainment – to find out how you can help get active for animals in entertainment see here!

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