Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Animal Protection Groups welcome council halt on circus with animals

Posted: 13 August 2009. Updated: 13 August 2009

Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) are delighted that Newry and Mourne District Council has acted to stop animals being used for public entertainment in Warrenport.

The council recently requested an injunction against Alexander Scholl’s ‘Super Circus Sydney’ and the High Court in Belfast ordered a halt to the erection of the circus in Warrenport on the grounds of public safety issues.

ADI and ARAN fully support Newry and Mourne District Council’s injunction request, and are pleased that the council is showing a commitment to animal welfare by curbing the activities of this circus.

ADI has campaigned against the use of animals in circuses in the UK for many years and has conducted thorough investigations into the welfare and treatment of animals in travelling circuses. Its findings reveal that animal welfare is inevitably compromised by the transient and temporary nature of the circus with severe confinement inevitable and physical abuse commonplace. In addition, the nature of the travelling circus brings potentially dangerous animals in to close proximity to people, when they are moving through public areas. Each year around the world, circus animals kill or injure many circus workers or members of the public.

Many local authorities have had similar problems with circuses and public safety issues and have taken a further step banning the use of animals in circuses on council owned land.

After the Government missed an opportunity to ban animal circuses with the Animal Welfare Act 2006, when 80% of the public said wild animals should be banned, a Circus Working Group was established by DEFRA to gather and evaluate evidence. However, this has been roundly criticized for discounting much of the evidence before it could even be considered.

More than 180 cross-party MPs signed a parliamentary petition calling for the Government to fulfil its commitment to ban wild animals in circuses and to set up a proper licensing system for domesticated animals. Circus animals are not currently given protection under the Animal Welfare Act as circus regulations have not yet been written and DEFRA is expected to issue a feasibility study.

ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, said: “Global awareness of animal suffering in circuses has never been higher, in fact just recently, Bolivia made a landmark decision to ban all domestic and wild animals in circuses. However, despite the fact that both MPs and two thirds of the British public want to see an end to all circuses with animals, the UK is falling behind in its standards of animal welfare. We urge the councillors in Newry and Mourne District Council to take the next step to prevent animal cruelty on its land by banning circuses with animals from the area.”


For further information, contact ADI Press Office, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP:
Amanda Gent
Tel: 020 7630 3340
Mob: 07785 552548


The scientific report ‘Animals in Travelling Circuses: The Science on Suffering’: can be downloaded here

The full-length video of Stop Circus Suffering – UK is available here:

Findings from an ADI Mori Poll in the UK in 2005 include:
80% say ban all wild animal circus acts and 65% say ban all animal circus acts.
90% against whipping and beating when training circus animals.

In 2006, Ben Bradshaw, then minister for animal welfare at Defra, announced: “I sympathise with the view that performances by some wild animals in travelling circuses are not compatible with meeting their welfare needs. … To provide this clarity I intend to use a regulation under clause 10 of the Animal Welfare Bill to ban the use in travelling circuses of certain non-domesticated species whose welfare needs cannot be satisfactorily met in that environment.”

Animal Defenders International (ADI)
With offices in London, San Francisco and Bogota, Animal Defenders International (ADI) campaigns to protect animals in entertainment, replacement of animals in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI also rescues animals in distress worldwide. Our evidence has led to campaigns and legislative action all over the world to protect them.

Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) is Ireland’s national animal rights group campaigning against all forms of animal cruelty including the use of animals in travelling circuses and supporting European and international campaigns to end cruelty to animals.

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