Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Dramatic circus elephant escape leads to calls for wild animal circus legislation

Posted: 30 March 2012. Updated: 30 March 2012

‘Public and animal safety once again compromised’ says Animal Defenders International

The startling sight of a runaway elephant in a car park in Cork, Ireland, has outraged animal rights campaigners throughout the world, with fresh calls being made for legislation to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.

The 2.5 ton 40 year old female Indian elephant was eventually re-captured by her panic-stricken handlers from the Courtney Brothers Circus camped nearby after frightening and endangering the lives of visitors to a shopping centre in the city before dashing onto a nearby road.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International said: “This is a prime example as to why wild animals do not belong in travelling circuses, as it clearly demonstrates how public safety, and that of the animals, can so easily be compromised.

"Fortunately no one was harmed this time, but the situation could have so easily been very different. The keepers had clearly lost control of the elephant.

"It is time to end the use of wild animals in circuses, in the interests of animal welfare and public safety. This serious safety breach provides governments around the world including the UK with further firm evidence of the need to press ahead with a ban immediately, to protect both the public, and the animals used in circuses.”

Speaking on behalf of the Irish group Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN), John Carmody said, "With the frantic images of the elephant trying to escape on Tuesday from the circus hitting households everywhere, people across our nation are finally realising that circuses with animals have no place in Irish society. The writing is finally on the walls for those still clinging onto a future of animal-acts, and now people realise that we must bring these outdated establishments to a long awaited end."

The UK Government has recently announced a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, but continues to pursue a system of licensing, a decision that has been derided by Animal Defenders International as cynical, misleading and deliberately disregarding the will of Parliament.

The Government continues to drag its feet over enacting an outright ban, which has received support from over 94% of the public, and an overwhelming vote in Parliament’s Backbencher’s Committee last year where MPs unanimously approved a motion directing the government to ban the use of wild animals in circuses by July 2012. Shortly after the Prime Minister was quoted as saying that he was ‘minded’ to ban.



Video footage of the elephant escape can be viewed by clicking here.

Media contact:
Phil Buckley, Media Relations Director
Animal Defenders International,
07716 018250 or 020 7630 3344

Animal Defenders International
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

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