Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ITV Presenters Have a Talent for Encouraging Cruelty

Posted: 22 May 2008

Animal group want answers from Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden over their support for animal ‘props’ in magic show

Lobby organisation Animal Defenders International (ADI) have spoken out in astonishment on distinctly un-animal-friendly decisions made by celebrities previously renowned for their compassion towards animal causes. ADI have sent an open letter to Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden expressing their grave concerns over the approval on the animal act, Animalique, on Britain’s Got Talent and the encouragement from the presenters for the act to use larger animals.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Simon, Amanda and Piers,

Re. Accepting Animalique to the next stage of Britain’s Got Talent

Animal Defenders International (ADI) were dismayed last Saturday to see Simon and Amanda approve an animal act through to the next round on Britain’s Got Talent. As high-profile celebrities, that have been outspoken in the past about animal welfare, it seems at complete odds for you to encourage Animalique to increase the size of their act; even specifically requesting a bigger snake.

ADI greatly admire the careers of both Simon and Amanda, and your prior commitment to raising public awareness of animal cruelty. We are therefore asking that you immediately retract the acceptance of Animalique to the next stage of the competition on the grounds that animals have no place in entertainment.

ADI has been inundated with calls and emails from upset supporters, who are concerned over the welfare of the 51 animals Animalique claim to own. There is also the worrying question of what they are going to do next, and with what animals, to impress the BGT judges. It is irresponsible, as presenters, to spearhead a national television programme and fail to acknowledge the animal abuse that occurs so often to captive species in entertainment.

It is advocating animal cruelty to suggest a bigger act will be more successful for Animalique, and any increase in animal performance will be directly attributable to those encouraging words.

Animals suffer greatly in entertainment, with the stress of performance, handling and training. Many solitary species are forced to live in close confinement with one another in an unnatural and unstable environment. ADI has produced many scientific studies into the distressing welfare implications of life for animals in circuses and the pet trade. ADI has also rescued and re-homed tigers and lions from suffering as caged circus performers living in terrible, miserable conditions.

By suggesting they should emulate the act of Seigfried and Roy is a grave statement. Not singly for the encouragement and validation of large cats in entertainment, but also for the omission that Roy Horn is now permanently disabled due to an attack from one of his ‘trained’ cats. The innate behavioural instincts of wild animals can never be completely erased, no matter how hard trainers try to force domesticity upon them.

ADI would like to extend thanks to Piers Morgan for taking a stand and acknowledging there is nothing entertaining about using animals as props in a magic show. In the 21st Century there is the chance for exciting, creative, spectacular human performances that need not rely on the outdated use of animals.

© Animal Defenders International 2019