Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Animal Defenders International and ARAN applaud Ards Borough Council for voting to ban animal circus

Posted: 3 October 2014

Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) have applauded a decision by Ards Borough Council to ban all travelling circuses with performing animals from public land. The council joins several councils in Northern Ireland with similar bans in place.

This decision comes ahead of a merger between Ards Borough Council and North Down Borough Council, which already has a ban in place on circuses using animals. The motion, ratified today, reads: “That this Council follows the example set by North Down Borough Council several years ago, in the interests of animal welfare, and now bans all circuses which use animals as part of their show from North Down and Ards District Council owned land.”

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International, said: “ADI is delighted at Ards Borough Council’s stand not to allow circus suffering in its community and we hope that this latest local ban will encourage Government to ban such acts across Northern Ireland, as planned in England and Wales.”

“ARAN congratulates the compassionate councillors in Ards for voting on this mighty progressive motion. Only last month we welcomed Southern Ireland’s eleventh town which also voted overwhelmingly to ban animal-act circuses using public land” said ARAN’s John Carmody. “Let’s have a circus industry with all the fun, but without the animals and the suffering they so often endure.”

Ministers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have indicated that they will “investigate the possibility of an ‘all-island approach’ to the issue of wild animals travelling in circuses”. Scotland is due to report on the findings of its public consultation on the issue, the Welsh Assembly has pledged its support for a ban, and a new bill could soon ban wild animals from circuses in England, legislation for which has already been drafted.

Over 200 local authorities in the UK have prohibited wild or all animal acts on public land, with several in Northern Ireland. Opinion polls consistently show that the public remains overwhelmingly opposed to wild animal acts, with a high proportion against all animal acts. Worldwide, 27 countries have introduced prohibitions on the use of animals in circuses.

ADI is currently working in Peru to assist authorities with the enforcement of a wild animal circus ban there, having previously done the same in Bolivia. The story of how ADI rescued and relocated 25 lions from circuses in Bolivia following its ban is documented in the award-winning action-documentary Lion Ark.

Despite assurances from the circus industry that their animals are well cared for, the physical and psychological health of animals in circuses is inevitably compromised. Circus animals can also be subjected to brutal training methods and violence – wherever ADI has conducted an undercover investigation in the UK and around the world it has documented acts of abuse.

Wild animal acts also pose a serious risk to public safety – in 2012, an elephant ran through a car park after escaping from the Courtney Brothers Circus in Cork; just days later, one of the circus’ trainers was crushed and hospitalised after attempting to break up a fight between two of the elephants. And earlier this year, a camel escaped from Courtney Brothers Circus, causing traffic chaos in Fermoy, Co Cork.

Please visit for more information and take action to help pass the circus ban.

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Contact: Jenny Platt 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548
John Carmody 0872391646

Footage and images available on request

National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 27 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, and Taiwan. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, Brazil, Chile, Malta, Mexico and The Netherlands.

Lion Ark

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.

© Animal Defenders International 2019