Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Circus inspections reveal multiple failings as politicians consider wild animal ban

Posted: 16 October 2014. Updated: 16 October 2014

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has condemned the continued suffering of wild animals in circuses as Parliament prepares to consider a ban on such acts this Friday. Inspection reports for the two circuses licensed to use wild animals have revealed that issues repeatedly raised by inspectors are not being addressed, highlighting the urgent need for a ban.

A number of welfare and animal management issues were raised during the three most recent inspections at Peter Jolly’s Circus:

-Three snakes had been allowed to get to an “advanced” state of putrefaction, preventing a post-mortem examination to determine their cause of death. Tests on the remaining snakes identified A Salmonella, Clostridia and E Coli bacteria, with the probable cause of death Clostridial Septicaemia.

-Despite the circus having been advised to provide water for animals in the pre-performance holding area, this has repeatedly not been provided. Additionally, water for the tigers to bathe in was withheld, denying them the ability to perform this natural behaviour, albeit in a small tub of water.

-Veterinary records were found to be incomplete for the fox, raccoon and snakes, and the vet’s paperwork was missing for a tuberculosis test for the ankole – a type of African cow. Humidity readings for the snake vivarium were also not recorded. Previously released documents revealed that the dates of birth for 12 of the 15 animals – fox, raccoon, snakes and reindeer – are apparently unknown.

-Owing in part to the animals being insufficiently trained, inspectors have repeatedly had difficulties reading the big cats’ microchips, leading them to rely on photographs for identification – indeed it was noted that the microchips had not been read since the animals had been acquired.

-The raccoon’s enclosure size was noted, as previously, as being “only just acceptable”. The largest snake was also unable to fully extend its body and a branch was recommended and fitted in the vivarium to allow the animal to do so.

-Despite recent evidence from ADI of llamas tethered in full view of the big cats, inspectors found that “No susceptible prey animals were in view of the big cats”. This shows how the inspection regime cannot provide a candid picture of life for the animals in the circus and fails to protect them. ADI has revealed incidents of abuse that were missed by inspections and exposed instances where circuses have purposely duped inspectors by hiding elephant leg chains and even a severely injured lioness.

Inspectors at Circus Mondao found:

-A camel suffering from a recurring wound on her hock and the reindeer showing signs of ‘significant pruritis’, causing distress and coat loss. A previous inspection found one of the camels had “mange-like legions on both hind legs” and that both of the camels appeared to be infertile.

-A zebra kept next to a pony, following the death of their companion. Although members of the same biological family, the two are different species with different needs and are unnatural companions.

-A previous inspection report revealed that the reindeer have been castrated, and so cannot naturally shed their antlers. Hormone injections are administered to encourage them to shed, but these “can incite aggression”. The circus was advised to separate the animals to avoid further fighting.

-ADI President Jan Creamer said: “The revelations that circus animals are being failed is sadly not surprising to us but we hope this latest evidence, which just scratches the surface of what these animals endure, will quash any doubts about the inevitable suffering and the unnatural lives these animals lead. Politicians have the power to bring about change by supporting the bill to ban wild animals in circuses this coming Friday and we hope they do the right thing by the public and, more importantly, the animals.”

The British Government has remained committed to banning the use of wild animals in circuses since it announced it would prohibit such acts in 2012. However, with progress appearing to have stalled, former Defra Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP has introduced a Bill to try and secure the ban ahead of the General Election which will have its crucial second reading tomorrow.

Public support for a ban has been consistently high for 15 years, with a Defra public consultation showing a resounding 94% of respondents supporting a ban. Over 200 local authorities in the UK already have bans on the use of animals in circuses, and 27 countries worldwide have national restrictions in place.

ADI is currently working with Government authorities in South America to help enforce wild animal circus bans in Peru and Colombia as part of a groundbreaking rescue mission, Operation Spirit of Freedom. Having been removed from the circus, once the animals are fit and ready to travel, they will be relocated to safety.

ADI’s campaign to stop circus suffering in Britain is supported by politicians of all parties, leading animal protection groups and celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Dame Judi Dench, Brian Blessed, Twiggy, Eddie Izzard and Sir Roger Moore.

## ENDS – Do not publish beyond this point ##

Contact: Fleur Dawes +44 (0)20 7630 3344 or +44 (0)7785 552548

Footage and images of wild animals in British circuses and rescued animals are available on request

Animal Defenders International obtained the circus inspection reports under the Freedom of Information Act. The inspections took place between October 2013 and August 2014 at Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus. Inspections took place both during a tour and while the circuses were based at their winter quarters.

Circus bans worldwide

Lion Ark

Twitter #circusban

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, and educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

© Animal Defenders International 2019