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Animal Defenders International

“All-Island” approach to animal circuses in Ireland welcomed

Posted: 24 July 2013. Updated: 24 July 2013

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ADI and our Irish campaign partner ARAN have today welcomed the news that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will “investigate the possibility of an “All-Island” approach to the issue of wild animals in travelling circuses”.

The project, which was agreed at a recent meeting between Ministers Michelle O’Neill and Simon Coveney, will be undertaken by officials from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine (DAFM) in the Republic as part of a “North South Animal Welfare and Transport Working Group”.

ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer “We are delighted that Ministers in Northern Ireland and the Republic are working together and giving the use of animals in circuses their serious consideration. The public want to see a ban across the UK and Ireland and we hope that after considering the inherent suffering, public safety risks and decline in popularity for animal circuses, they will conclude that a circus ban is the only outcome we want to see.”

"The tide is turning on public opinion and the very same people are voting with their feet and refusing to support animal-act circuses in Ireland," says ARAN’s John Carmody. "The future is clearly a circus industry without animals, so ARAN demands that the shameful government, who has failed animals for far too long, actually does something meaningful to stamp out this terrible suffering of animals for entertainment."

Minister O’Neill has indicated her preference for any legislative action concerning the use of animals in circuses to be considered on an “all-island” basis on a number of occasions, most recently in response to a written parliamentary question on 28 June, and ADI and ARAN agree this would be preferable as a number of animal circuses currently cross the border during the circus season.

ADI and ARAN have provided the Minister with evidence of the suffering of animals in travelling circuses, and the similar wild animal measures being taken by governments, cities and towns all over the world. Motions to ban wild animal acts in Monaghan, Drogheda, Waterford and Wicklow were passed in 2012 and, in the past 6 weeks alone, nationwide bans have been introduced in Colombia and Cyprus.

There is huge public support for a UK-wide ban on wild animals in circuses and the Coalition Government has published draft legislation with an implementation date of 1 December 2015, with the Welsh Assembly also pledging its support for the ban.

ADI and ARAN is seeking a similar commitment from the Northern Ireland Assembly and Parliament in the Republic.

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