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Animal Defenders International

The science on suffering: Husbandry and close confinement (2)

Posted: 17 May 2006

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Excessive periods in transporters.

Case Study: Zippo’s Circus.
Observations 2 & 3 April 2006.

Journey: Oxford to Blackheath, SE London.

Actual journey time: 2 hours

4 horses, 3 ponies: Time spent on transporters (from being loaded to being unloaded), 4hrs 15mins and 4hrs 55 mins.

This is not unusual: We reported in ‘Animals in UK Circuses’ (2003) that a journey of just 11 miles (Chiswick to Kingsbury) took 40 minutes, whilst the animals remained in their transporters for 2 hours and 12 minutes.

It should be noted that ADI Field Officer timings are backed by contemporaneous notes, videotape and photographs.

These timings do not support the statement by Zippo’s Circus, read to the House of Commons by Peter Luff, MP, on 14.03.06: “The practice at my circus is that after their last performance the 7 horses and ponies are loaded into their horse transporter and driven to the next venue. Since my circus travels mainly within the M25 these journeys are between 5 miles and 25 miles long and it is rare for journey times to be longer than one hour. The stables are then immediately erected at the new venue, in an area which has already been marked out for them. Erecting the stables takes less than an hour. The horses are then unloaded and stabled on clean bedding with fresh water and best quality hay. So the average journey time takes one hour, and the time the horses wait in the horse transporter while the stables are built up is less than one hour. The whole process is over in less than 2 hours.”

ADI Statement about Zippo’s misleading claim regarding the ADI MORI opinion poll of October 2005:

Zippo’s Circus has claimed both in the Houses of Parliament and in the media, that the ADI MORI poll of October 2005 has been withdrawn by MORI. This is not the case. MORI stand by their data and have issued a statement to this effect.

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Horse & pony husbandry

Case Study: Zippo’s Circus.
Observations 2 & 3 April 2006.

4 horses, 3 ponies

Housing: Individual approx. 3 metres x 3 metres stalls inside a tent (tethered for at least part of this time).

There was no exercise enclosure present for the horses or ponies on either the 2nd or 3rd. On 6th April there was an exercise enclosure (approximately 35 by 10 metres) but no animals were seen to use it. During observations a year earlier, on 22 and 23 April 2005, no exercise enclosure had been provided.

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ADI has previously noted that circus exercise enclosures generally are not large or numerous enough (given the restrictions of individual sites) to allow all of the animals to be exercised each day. Our ‘Animals in UK Circuses’ (2003) report noted that during three days of observations at this circus, the exercise enclosures were not used at all.

Pictured: Horses tethered to the outside of their stables at Zippos circus.

The problem with a travelling circus is that animals can remain tethered for long periods of time while workers are busy, or on breaks.

If it were just for a week, or in a permanent facility with scope for variation of environment, these stalls could be considered to be adequate.

However the problem for circus horses is that they live in these temporary facilities for most of the year
– either on a lorry or in these stables.

Exercise enclosures, when provided, are not always used, due to time restrictions.

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