Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

New campaign to end wild animals in circuses in Northern Ireland

Posted: 21 January 2013. Updated: 7 July 2014

Animal protection organisations Animal Defenders International (ADI) and ARAN have launched a new campaign to end the use of wild animals in circuses in Northern Ireland.

ADI and ARAN and other animal protection groups spoke with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill, earlier this afternoon and provided 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. Over twenty countries have now banned the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, and similar motions are being discussed in Colombia, Brazil and the UK. The Minister will be urged to introduce legislation to end the use of wild animals in circuses nationwide.

There is huge public support for a UK-wide ban on wild animals in circuses and the Government announced in March 2012 that it would introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allowed. ADI and ARAN is seeking a similar commitment from the Northern Ireland Assembly, as well as the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer said: “Even with the best will in the world, the evidence shows that travelling circuses cannot provide their animals with adequate facilities to maintain health and welfare. ADI investigations have revealed how circus animals endure confinement, physical and social deprivation, long and arduous journeys, brutal control methods and physical violence. We hope that Minister O’Neill will listen to the public, and the overwhelming scientific and empirical evidence, and prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses.”

Just a few wild animal circuses currently tour Northern Ireland, highlighting the decrease in popularity for such acts. Courtney Brothers Circus made headlines across the world last year after one of its five elephants escaped in Cork, running through a public car park and onto a road. Two days later, at the same circus, a trainer was crushed and hospitalised while attempting to break up a fight between two elephants. Incidents such as these highlight the risk to public safety, of allowing large and dangerous animals to be on the streets and in towns. Following the escape, animal protection organisations, sanctuaries and zoos from around the world called for the use of elephants in circuses to be prohibited.

ARAN’s Campaigns Director John Carmody said: “ARAN has seen first-hand how popularity for wild animal acts in circuses in Ireland has waned over the years as people become more informed about the welfare of the animals involved. They see that performing is no fun for the animals and don’t want to be associated with the inherent suffering involved. The use of wild animals in circuses should be consigned to the past, where it belongs.”


Media contacts
Angie Greenaway, Animal Defenders International
Tel: 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

John Carmody, ARAN
Tel: +353 (0)87-2391646

Film and photographs: Available from ADI: circus animals in Ireland, UK and abroad.

Animal Defenders International
With offices in London, Los Angeles, 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.

ARAN are Ireland’s national animal rights group, who campaign peacefully against all forms of animal abuse, and work to promote a cruelty-free lifestyle.

National measures to restrict either all or wild animals in circuses, have been adopted in Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Taiwan, Singapore, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Costa Rica, India and Israel. Similar laws are being discussed in the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Malta, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Norway.

© Animal Defenders International 2019