Brian Blessed Gets Behind Campaign To Ban Wild Animal Circuses

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February 20, 2015

Brian Blessed: Profile

As the political saga surrounding the promised ban on wild animals in circuses in the UK continues, legendary actor Brian Blessed has urged the government to “end this circus madness” and finally legislate to ban such acts.

The ‘Flash Gordon’ star’s call for action comes as Animal Defenders International (ADI) reveals that the only and much criticised lion and tiger circus act will not be touring Britain this year.

Brian Blessed said “I am deeply opposed to the use of wild animals in circuses and have been working with Animal Defenders International to oppose such acts for many years. Despite repeated promises from the Government, we are still waiting for the law to pass and the animals are continuing to suffer. Please end this circus madness.”

Brian Blessed is among a string of high profile supporters of ADI’s campaign to ‘Stop Circus Suffering’ in Britain which includes Ricky Gervais, Sir Roger Moore, Brian May,Moby, Imelda Staunton, Eddie Izzard, Twiggy, Annette Crosbie, Sir Paul McCartneyand Dame Judi Dench.

Back in 2011, Brian Blessed made a similar plea following ADI’s shocking exposérevealing the terrible abuse inflicted on Anne, Britain’s last circus elephant. The actor joined the organisation and a delegation of MPs to present a letter to the Prime Minister calling for a ban. At the time Blessed stated, “now is the time for the government to legislate and put a stop, once and for all, to the draconian and humiliating spectacle of wild animals in circuses.”

As a result of changing attitudes and greater awareness of how circus animals are kept, trained and treated following investigations by organisations such as ADI, just two circuses in Britain currently tour with wild animals.

ADI can reveal that Thomas Chipperfield, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield who was prosecuted for animal cruelty following an ADI investigation, who presents the only lion and tiger circus act in Britain, will not be touring with a circus this year. The act featured in Peter Jolly’s Circus last year, attracting widespread criticism and local protests.

Whilst in the circus and at their present overwintering location in Scotland, ADIdocumented how Chipperfield’s lions and tigers exhibited abnormal repetitive behaviour – not seen in the wild but commonly observed in circuses – indicating compromised welfare. Seeing the footage, vets Marc Abraham and Simon Adams said “Big cats are never meant to live like this” and “the limited space available in a travelling circus is unsuitable to big cats”. Although the animals will not be touring, they will likely remain in their temporary, confined living quarters.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “While the government fails to take action, the suffering of wild animals in circuses will continue and it must take full responsibility. It is time to pass the ban that has long been promised to the public and the animals.”

Little progress has been made since the Government announced it would ban the use of wild animals in circuses in 2012, leading Jim Fitzpatrick MP to introduce a bill. Despite having cross-party support, Christchurch MP Christopher Chope has blocked the backbench bill on seven occasions. The bill will have its next second reading on Friday 27 February.

Whilst Britain stalls on progressing the ban, 30 countries have introduced laws prohibiting animals in circuses. ADI is working with authorities to rescue animals from circuses following wild animal circus bans in Peru and Colombia, and is currently caring for 30 lions and over 20 other animals. The organisation is seeking donations to complete its groundbreaking rescue mission ‘Operation Spirit of Freedom’.

News Link:https://www.looktothestars.org/news/13286-brian-blessed-gets-behind-campaign-to-ban-wild-animal-circuses

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GRAPHIC VIDEO; WILD ANIMALS IN CIRCUSES IN THE UK…Why no ban yet?? Please help!

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“Please, if you care about wild animals being exploited for entertainment & money, take action & send an email to the links below; I don’t know about you, but I am sick of being hoodwinked! The BRITISH Government are stalling for some reason, whilst other Countries (even those known for their poor welfare of animals) have managed a ban….why not England?? All those in government need to watch the video at the end of this post, even though posted in 2010, little has changed, for animals are still being beaten into submission by cruel trainers, taking their own frustrations out, on sentient beings, who can’t speak about the abuse. Circuses are interested only in the money their animal performances bring in, which brings horrific suffering to those entrusted to entertain…THE ENGLISH GOVERNMENT HAVE TO HONOUR THEIR PROMISE OF A BAN ON WILD ANIMALS IN CIRCUSES ASAP…I only feel total empathy & sorrow for those sentient beings left, like horse & dogs etc. Who will still suffer the abuse, confinement & training of circus life; it’s heartbreaking to see horses with stereotypical behaviour!”

“All circus animals live a life of abuse, confinement & constant beatings (often for no reason, other than the trainer feels like letting off some personal steam) just to entertain the public…which is simply not right & should be banned ASAP! Personally I don’t think any animal wild or domesticated animal, should be used & abused for monetary gain; all animals should be banned from circuses!! They don’t belong in solitary confinement, with repetitive beatings… simply going stir crazy, because they are so distressed… pacing back & forth in cramped cages, no animal deserve to suffer this stereotypic behaviour??PERIOD!”

“I would so love to see those who beat the animals, get a taste of their own medicine! But then, as is usual, any animal that attacks a human (irrelevant of the constant beatings it has endured over the years etc) will ultimately be shot; can no one see why these animals attack? They are mentally broken, beaten & humiliated….I wouldn’t blame any animal that struck back at its human trainer….perhaps if the animals were not so scared of the beatings, there would be more!!

“Those who watch the video & or still choose to go to circuses etc; are on the wrong blog! There is nothing here for those who don’t understand the suffering these sentient beings endure, at the hands of humans! If you have no interest in helping animals & sticking up for the voiceless…PLEASE…bog off from my blog!!!”

The Born Free Foundation has been working steadily for many years for an end to the use of wild animals in circuses.

No Animal Should Be Used and Abused For Entertainment

No Animal Should Be Used and Abused For Entertainment

In the UK, we participated in a government-convened Circus Working Group in the late 1990s and again in 2006. We have investigated and exposed the treatment of wild animals in circuses on many occasions, and helped to relocate animals from circuses to better conditions.

Numbers of circuses with wild animals and the number of wild animals used by circuses have declined in recent years but we consider that a ban on wild animals in circuses across the UK is long overdue. travelling circus environment simply cannot provide for the needs of wild animals.

For the latest on the progress towards a ban in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, please see our news items.

 URGENT! – ASK CAMERON AND CLEGG TO BRING CURTAIN DOWN ON WILD ANIMALS IN CIRCUSES

Dear Supporters and Friends

I was shocked when I discovered that the ban on wild animals in travelling circuses in England was not mentioned in the Queen’s Speech in June 2014. I am sure you are as disappointed as I am.  But I will certainly not give up.  There is still a slim chance that the Government could make the dream of a ban a reality – but I need your immediate help.

It is vital that the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister hear from compassionate citizens as a matter of urgency and I am, therefore, asking you to take 5 minutes to contact them, urging them to ensure that a ban is introduced by Government as a priority.

The key points to make in your letter or email are:

  • The Government made a commitment to bring in a ban on wild animals in travelling circuses in England in March 2012, and has repeatedly confirmed their commitment ever since.
  • There is now a very limited window of opportunity for the government to make good on its promise of a ban within this session of Parliament. Parliament is scheduled to be dissolved at the end of March 2015.
  • Draft legislation to ban has already been introduced in Parliament. This legislation is not considered to be controversial, has the overwhelming support of Parliamentarians, and could progress quickly through Parliament.
  • There is strong public support for a ban which would be a quick and easy “win” for this Government.
  • Any delay in bringing in a ban in England could reduce the chances of bringing in bans in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Leading animal protection organisations including the Born Free Foundation, RSPCA, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society, and the British Veterinary Association are all agreed that a ban is long overdue.
  • Quite simply, a ban is the right thing to do in a compassionate society that cares about animals and we must not let this opportunity be lost!

Please help and take five minutes to contact the offices of Prime Minister Rt Hon David Cameron MP and the Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP by following these links:

https://email.number10.gov.uk/

http://engage.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/deputy-prime-ministers-office/contact-the-deputy-prime-minister/

Or write to them:

The Prime Minister-

10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

The Deputy Prime Minister

Cabinet Office
70 Whitehall
London
SW1A 2AS

Thank you so much for reading this and I do hope you will help.

With all good wishes

Virginia

NB. If you wish to help Born Free’s ongoing work on captive wild animals, please consider making adonation to assist our Zoo Check campaign

News Link:-http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/zoo-check/circuses-performing-animals/uk-circuses/

Ugliest Show On Earth

Uploaded on 7 Apr 2010 – ANIMAL DEFENDERS INTERNATIONAL.

The Ugliest Show on Earth report (USoE) and video chart the findings of an 18-month study and investigation into the use of animals in circuses – the most comprehensive study of animals in circuses ever undertaken.

Between 1996 and 1998, ADI undercover Field Officers worked in 13 UK animal circuses and winter quarters, and 5 foreign circuses which were exhibiting animals supplied by UK circus animal suppliers and trainers.

The team of five people involved in the undercover work made observations totalling 7,280 hours. Over 700 hours of videotape was recorded, with nearly 400 hours of this being used in evidence for the prosecutions which followed the publication of the report and release of the video programme of the same name.

The video highlights the main findings of the study and is probably most famous for the shocking scenes of brutality to elephants and chimpanzees at Mary Chipperfield Promotions in Hampshire, UK. These scenes allowed ADI to issue summonses for cruelty to animals which were subsequently taken over by the UKs Crown Prosecution Service, and convictions for cruelty were secured against Mary Chipperfield Cawley, her husband Roger Cawley, and their elephant keeper, Michael Steve Gills.

2 Posts; POLAR BEAR ARRIVES IN ZOO IN ENGLAND- VICTOR ARRIVES AFTER 12 HOUR JOURNEY

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“My first post in a while, just taking it slowly, waiting for next spinal op!!. I sincerely hope this park is to help polar bears, not breed them or just have them for entertainment. If only they could rescue Yupi; currently housed at Morelia Zoo in Mexico! I hate to see wild animals behind bars, but have to also say this is a pretty impressive enclosure, shame they couldn’t add icebergs & snow….but living in England myself, he may just get a taste of life in the snow; however nothing like the habitat this bear should be in…wild & free!!!”

News Link; Post 1; BORN FREE

Yorkshire Wildlife Park has announced the import of a polar bear, Victor, from Rhenen Zoo in the Netherlands. According to their website, Victor is a 15-year-old bear who has been “retired” from the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP).

The arrival of Victor represents the first time that a polar bear has been kept in a zoo in England since the death of Mandy at Flamingo Land in 2004. (However, we believe that there is a female polar bear at a private facility in Oxfordshire).

There are considerable threats facing wild polar bears and their habitat, but Born Free firmly believes that breeding more bears in zoos has no genuine role to play in polar bear conservation. Furthermore, experience of polar bears in zoos the world over has shown us time and again that polar bears simply do not fare well in captivity – partly as a consequence of the restricted environment. It must be taken into account that the average polar bear enclosure in captivity is 1 million times smaller than the natural range of a polar bear in the wild.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the UK has not become “polar bear-free”. After many years of campaigning, Born Free was instrumental in securing the transfer of Mercedes, the last polar bear at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, to their sister site at Highland Wildlife Park. Mercedes had been kept in a wholly unsuitable “traditional” bear enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo since 1984. Highland Wildlife Park brought in a young male from the Netherlands, just prior to Mercedes’ death in 2011. Another male polar bear was then imported in 2012 from a zoo in Germany.

According to news reports, Victor is expected to be joined by two other polar bears by the end of the year, although it is currently unclear where these bears will be arriving from. Yorkshire Wildlife Park has so far not ruled out breeding polar bears at their new facility.

In October 2013, Yorkshire Wildlife Park launched a £150,000 appeal to rescue Yupi, a female polar bear currently housed at Morelia Zoo in Mexico in what most experts believe is a very inappropriate climate and enclosure. The offer to rehome Yupi is yet to be accepted and it is unclear whether there is any realistic chance of Yupi being relocated to Yorkshire.

If Yorkshire Wildlife Park truly wants to help polar bears, it will focus on genuine rescues of polar bears from the most unsuitable zoos worldwide, rather than act as a facility for European zoos to offload bears surplus to requirements from the European breeding programme. Furthermore, Yorkshire Wildlife Park should ensure that they do not breed from any bears, to avoid adding to the numbers of bears in captivity with no prospect of release to the wild.

For more information see link & post below:

http://www.yorkshirewildlifepark.com/#!news/c1qh1

Help us monitor their behaviour and protect them in the wild by adopting the Hudson Bay Polar Bears

News Link:-http://www.bornfree.org.uk/news/news-article/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1657

News Link; Post 2 DAILYMAILCO,UK

I’m bearing up nicely! After a 12-hour journey, Victor, England’s only polar bear, chills out in his new home

  • Victor, a 1,058lb polar bear, has become England’s only polar bear after moving to Doncaster from Holland 
  • The 15-year-old was retired from a breeding programme because he is father to nearly all of Europe’s polar bears
  • He has moved into a 10-acre park in Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which includes 8m deep lakes and an Arctic climate
  • More polar bears will be arriving to give him some company over the next few months, park officials say

By OLLIE GILLMAN FOR MAILONLINE and CHRIS BROOKE FOR THE DAILY MAIL

Frolicking in his new home, England’s only polar bear is a picture of contentment.

But moving the 75-stone animal from a Dutch zoo to this purpose-built enclosure was a tricky proposition – not least for Victor himself.

With his breeding days behind him, the 15-year-old was picked to be the first occupant of an £850,000 facility at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, complete with an eight-metre-deep lake and swathes of grassland, designed to resemble the Arctic tundra in the summer.

To reach it, however, he had to endure a 12-hour journey locked inside a cramped metal box. After being trained to walk into the cage, he was loaded on to a lorry and then ferried to Hull from the port of Zeebrugge, receiving fish and water through the bars along the way.

His new keepers were relieved that upon his arrival on Thursday they were met by a ‘very confident’ and ‘laid back’ character – rather than a polar bear with a sore head.

After spending the weekend in a holding area to give him time to adjust, Victor was finally let loose in his new home yesterday. He quickly settled in with a refreshing dip in the man-made lake, before a rest in one of the caves dug into a bank at the side of the water.

His enclosure is one of the biggest in the world, and could hold up to ten more animals. Victor is expected to be joined by two others by the end of the year – but for now he has all ten acres to himself.

Cheryl Williams, the wildlife park’s director, said: ‘He is quite greedy and loves meat and fish, with his favourite being mackerel, but he is not very impressed by vegetables. I have been told he likes the occasional peanut butter sandwich but we haven’t tried that yet.

‘He weighs about 480kg (1058lbs) so he is pretty chunky, but that is his summer weight. When it comes up to winter he will become a real hungry Horace and eat lots more, when it gets colder he will probably be about 500kg (1102lbs).

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To reach it, however, he had to endure a 12-hour journey locked inside a cramped metal box. After being trained to walk into the cage, he was loaded on to a lorry and then ferried to Hull from the port of Zeebrugge, receiving fish and water through the bars along the way.

His new keepers were relieved that upon his arrival on Thursday they were met by a ‘very confident’ and ‘laid back’ character – rather than a polar bear with a sore head.

After spending the weekend in a holding area to give him time to adjust, Victor was finally let loose in his new home yesterday. He quickly settled in with a refreshing dip in the man-made lake, before a rest in one of the caves dug into a bank at the side of the water.

His enclosure is one of the biggest in the world, and could hold up to ten more animals. Victor is expected to be joined by two others by the end of the year – but for now he has all ten acres to himself.

Cheryl Williams, the wildlife park’s director, said: ‘He is quite greedy and loves meat and fish, with his favourite being mackerel, but he is not very impressed by vegetables. I have been told he likes the occasional peanut butter sandwich but we haven’t tried that yet.

‘He weighs about 480kg (1058lbs) so he is pretty chunky, but that is his summer weight. When it comes up to winter he will become a real hungry Horace and eat lots more, when it gets colder he will probably be about 500kg (1102lbs).

Victor, who retired from a breeding programme after fathering ten cubs, is the first polar bear to live in England for about a decade. He was born in captivity in Rostock, Germany, before moving to Rhenen in the Netherlands.

His new keepers hope to use their enclosure to re-home bears living in unsuitable homes in Eastern Europe or tropical countries. The animal, who is such a prolific breeder that he had to be retired because he is father to most of Europe’s polar bears, now lives in a 10-acre enclosure which has the environment of an Arctic summer.

Park director John Minion said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Victor to the park and be able to make a contribution to polar bear conservation. ‘Victor has made a great contribution to the European breeding programme and his genes are very well represented now so the decision was made to retire him to the park. ‘He’s actually the most prolific breeder across Europe, so most polar bears in Europe are probably his children.

Published on 18 Aug 2014

Polar bear Victor is set to become the first resident in the Doncaster-based wildlife park’s purpose-built polar bear centre. The 15-year-old polar bear is due to arrive at the park from his home at Rhenen Zoo in Holland next month, – and will be the only one in England.

VIDEOhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2727861/It-s-long-way-t-Arctic-Britain-s-polar-bear-Victor-arrives-new-home-Yorkshire.html#v-3735643981001

‘But that doesn’t stop Victor from being an ambassador for the Arctic. Polar bears are an iconic species that are increasingly threatened in their native habitat and we need to fight their cause. The park expect Victor to live for anotjer 15 years at least, but he will not be lonely for long as more bears are expected to join him soon. ‘We will have more bears arriving in the autumn and will announce those as soon as details are finalised,’ Mr Minion added.

‘So because of that he’s now been retired from the breeding programme and we offered him a home as we’ve just built this specialist enclosure which is the biggest in Europe at the moment.’

And if Victor is anything to go by, the other polar bears will settle in fine at the large enclosure, dubbed Project Polar, which features landscaped hills, valleys, and lakes with water up to 8m deep. Within 10 minutes of arriving he was seen in his house, eating food and having a drink ‘like he had been here all his life’, Mr Minion said. He will be kept of out of the public gaze while he acclimatises to British temperatures, but will be able to explore his new home.

Mr Minion explained what Project Polar includes: ‘The landscaping of the reserves mirror the Arctic Tundra with grass, herbs, shrubs and heathers. There are rocky areas and caves, which provide shelter for the bears as well as their main house. ‘The large lake is 8m deep so Victor will be able to swim and dive. We are sure that Victor will enjoy his new surroundings.’

Last year Yorkshire Wildlife Park offered a home to Yupi, a polar bear trapped in soaring temperatures and a concrete enclosure in a Mexican zoo.

Yupi has been at Morelia Zoo since 1992, after being captured in the wild as a cub. Her current concrete enclosure has virtually no shade, and offers little stimulation, causing campaigners to encourage the zoo to move her to a more appropriate home.

The Doncaster park made an offer to rehouse Yupi, but it is yet to be accepted. Ms Williams said: ‘We would still be delighted to re-home Yupi, who is over twenty years old. It would be wonderful if she could enjoy the rest of her life in the reserve here, so we wait for further news from Morelia.’  There are two other polar bears in Britain, who both live at Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. One of them, called Walker, is one of Victor’s many sons.

All Pictures In Daily Mail News Link From: FameFlynet.uk.com

News Link:-http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2727861/It-s-long-way-t-Arctic-Britain-s-polar-bear-Victor-arrives-new-home-Yorkshire.html

England’s Prime Minister Says He Will Ban Wild Animals from Circuses

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BY JOAN REDDY  

England’s Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he will work quickly to bring forward the Government’s draft bill that will ban wild animals from circuses. The bill was originally published last March, but little progress has been made since then.

 

The British animal rights organization, Animal Defender’s International (ADI),  is concerned that if the ban is not immediately enforced, the implementation date of December 2015 may be missed. Social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell, and former Conservative MEP, author, and conservationist Stanley Johnson approached Prime Minister Cameron with this concern, and asked him to swiftly move on the bill. He responded to their request by saying “[y]es, we are going to do it.”

“It is great that David Cameron told Stanley and me today that he will ban wild animals in circuses. Let’s hold him to it. Circuses deny animals their freedom and suppress their natural, wild nature through confinement, tethering and subjugation. It is wrong for circuses to subject wild animals to such physical and mental suffering. That’s why I am supporting Animal Defenders International’s campaign calling on the Government to urgently legislate a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses,” said Thatchell.

“I am very much hoping that this legislation to ban wild animals in circuses will appear in the Queen’s speech and no further delay will be experienced. Circuses that persist in using wild animals undermine conservation efforts by demeaning animals and presenting them as playthings. These animals belong in their natural wild habitat, not the circus,” said Johnson. “I applaud Animal Defenders International on its work to stop circus suffering and urge the Government to join the growing number of countries that have banned wild animal acts,” he added.

The elephant-shaped letter requesting Prime Minister Cameron to quickly move the bill forward, has been signed by celebrities that include Eddie IzzardJulian Clary,MobyMichaela Strachan, and Brian Blessed. Also, among the signatories, isEton, whom is a famous alumni of Prime Minister Cameron’s old school, as well as actor Dominic West and sustainable investment leader Ben Goldsmith.

“We are delighted that David Cameron has promised the ADI deputation that he will bring forward the ban on wild animals. So many celebrities and politicians have joined ADI to call on the Government to implement its promised ban on wild animals in circuses. After a 20 year wait the public wants to see this done and if the Government fails to deliver on this promise, it will be directly responsible for continued animal suffering,” said ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer.

At the moment, more than two hundred local authorities in the UK, and twenty-five countries worldwide have restricted using animals in circuses. A 2010 Defra consultation showed that 94 percent of Britain’s population opposed the use of animals in circuses, and in 2011 sixty-three MPs also agreed that the Government should ban wild animal circus acts.

Hopefully, Britain will soon be the twenty-seventh country to rescue wild circus animals from a life of captivity, abuse and exploitation.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

News Link:-http://www.ecorazzi.com/2014/04/10/englands-prime-minister-says-he-will-ban-wild-animals-from-circuses/

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Petition: RSPCA – Circuses are no fun for animals, Hold the Government to its promise!

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“I don’t know about anyone else but I am sick & fed up of contacting my MP about a ban on Wild animals in circuses across England & Wales. How come other Countries have managed to introduce a ban with no problems? Just WTF are the Government dithering about for? I just pray for all the animals forced to perform, that the Government will not go back on their word & will introduce the much-needed ban ASAP!”

In 2012, the Westminster Government announced it would finally grant wild animals in circuses their long overdue ban.

No Animal Should Be Used & Abused ForEntertainment

No Animal Should Be Used & Abused For Entertainment

Two years later and there is a real danger that Parliamentary time will simply run out to deliver the ban and wild animals could languish in circuses for many years to come…

We’ve come this far, we can’t let the animals down now! If you live in England or Wales act now using the form below to make sure the Westminster Government keeps its promise…

The wild animals unfortunate enough to be part of a circus act today live lives of forced performance, prolonged confinement and unnatural social groupings.

 The complex needs of wild animals can never be adequately met in a circus environment and regular transport, cramped and bare temporary housing, forced training and performance are all unavoidable realities for the animals.

So what are we waiting for?

In March 2012 the Westminster Government announced it would ban wild animals in circuses and the Welsh Government later announced they were keen for Wales to be included in the legislation.

However, two years and one meaningless circus licensing scheme later, the animals are still waiting.

 Take action and urge your Government not to break its promise…
Use the form below to email your MP (or if you live in Wales, the Minister for Natural Resources & Food, Alun Davies AM) urging them to ensure the Government keeps its promise! 
Use this link to the form to Contact Your MP:-http://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaigns/bigstop/takeaction
RSPCACircuses Are No Fun For Animals

Published on 15 Nov 2012

Join the campaign to end circus suffering at: http://www.rspca.org.uk/CircusesAreNoFun

Despite the Westminster Government’s promise to ban wild animals in circuses, the licensing scheme planned for the interim period could mean even more suffering, for even more animals…

In fact, we could still see wild animals suffering in travelling circuses in 2020! It’s time the Government listened to the majority of the people in this county and granted the animals their long overdue ban. Please share this video and spread the work that Circuses are #NoFunforAnimals

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How This Starving Horse Shames The Middle-Class Families Who Dump Pet Ponies They Can’t Afford

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“Firstly I have to point out that those who know nothing about horses (aside from riding them) shouldn’t bloody buy or own one; unless they first do a proper course at an agricultural college on Horse & Pasture Management etc. I did when I was age 17 & although I thought I knew it all, the course showed I knew very little; aside from how to ride! Horse prices have dropped so at the moment horses are very cheap, meaning anyone could be easily tempted to buy one; but it’s not just about having land to keep it on, there are many many cost’s involved so one must ensure they can pay for the horses upkeep!”

” I’ve said this before & will keep on saying it; certain horse owners breed them, because that’s their means of income, from travellers to racehorses; but it the horse that pays the price when they either don’t make the grade at racing, or can’t be sold at auction, other than to a killer buyer! All this indiscriminate breeding has meant many horses are either dying of hunger because their owners can’t afford to feed them hard food & hay; a horse needs more than just grass! Then there are those that don’t have their own pastures so think nothing about fly grazing their horses on public or council land.” 

“Some are in such a bad state they are on their way to slaughter, most of which come from breeders who just don’t bloody care!”

By LIZ JONES COLUMN PUBLISHED: 00:56, 2 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:33, 2 March 2014

She was obviously loved, once. A chestnut mare with a sweet disposition who seems to have a radar to detect the Polo mints in my pocket.

She’s wearing an expensive rug, only now it’s ripped and tangled around her legs. Her coat is worn white where the rug has slipped and rubbed.

Her mane and tail are dreadlocks, entangled with twigs. The ground is sodden, due to the recent flooding, but as I stand with this mare I might as well be in Ethiopia, or some other Third World country where horses roam, abandoned, often starving, rather than where I am: an industrial wasteland in Avonmouth, near Bristol.

Liz Jones visited Avonmouth near Bristol with an officer for World Horse Welfare, whose job it is to monitor horses abandoned in North Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire and South Wales

I’m with an officer from World Horse Welfare whose job it is not just to monitor horses abandoned here in North Somerset, but in Wiltshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire and South Wales: no wonder he looks exhausted.

I ask if I can take off the chestnut’s rug to free her and avoid terrible sores, but he tells me no. The red tape that enmeshes animal welfare officers is almost as confining as the straps around the mare’s legs.

The officer tells me I cannot mention his name, either, for fear of alienating the travellers who control these wastelands and wage fierce turf wars. He tells me he gets a lot of ‘verbal abuse’.

But this horse doesn’t look like a traveller’s horse: she’s too fine, not a stocky, coloured cob that is the traveller norm. Her owners have obviously spotted this grazing group, and simply added her to the pile.

She is just one more addition to the estimated 7,000 horses currently at large, abandoned by owners who can no longer afford to keep them – and  it seems that unwanted family pets have now joined these roaming herds of so-called ‘gipsy’ animals.

Horses, for whatever reason – whether they buck off their young owners or cost too much in vet fees and feed – can often enter a downward spiral. Sold again and again, they are eventually picked up by dealers for as little as £5, and sent  for slaughter. Many owners perhaps feel that leaving a horse to fend for itself is a better option.

It’s a huge issue that has been overlooked for years. But now, in an economic and environmental crisis, where flooded land means there is less to go round for grazing, it’s one we can no longer ignore.

Three of the abandoned horses at the site. They are just some of the estimated 7,000 horses currently believed to be at large in the country

Many of the horses are abandoned by their owners who can no longer afford to keep them, while some are unwanted family pets

I’m patron of Equine Market Watch, a small rescue centre in Herefordshire. We took in two colts abused  by a local trader, Mark Hall, from Bringsty, who in September was jailed for ‘immense cruelty’ to 18 horses.

Elaine Tasker, the amazing woman who runs the charity, said: ‘Calls come in every day from people who simply cannot cope any more: they have lost their job, or got divorced.

‘We used to get three calls a day. Now we get seven or eight. I’ve had so many people in tears over ponies that have been in the family a long time.’

Elaine says too many people just don’t notice the animals in sodden, barren fields or wandering, desperately in search of food, on wasteland.

‘They drive past places where hungry animals stand in mud and they just don’t care,’ she laments. ‘The time is approaching when a nationwide cull will be the only way to get the equine population under control.

It seems shameful and shocking that in a horse-loving nation, there is a herd of perhaps 40 horses fly-grazing here at Avonmouth, a few hundred yards from the roaring M49.

Most of the mares are heavily pregnant, still suckling last year’s foals. There is no shelter from the

Liz Jones is patron of Equine Market Watch, a small rescue centre in Herefordshire

elements, meaning lovely heads are bowed against the biting wind, their backs covered in the skin disease rain scald. All the horses are thin – the poor grass is woefully insufficient.

These animals need hay and supplementary hard feed. Their feet are neglected and painful, forcing many to totter uncertainly.

The sight is repeated right across the country, as The Mail on Sunday has highlighted in recent weeks, with increasing numbers of animals, including pregnant mares and foals, being abandoned everywhere from Norfolk and Kent to South Wales.

The RSPCA in England took in 1,526 equines (horses, ponies, donkeys and mules) last year, a staggering 69 per cent increase over 2012.

Redwings horse sanctuary, based  in Norfolk, says that in 2009 it had 161 reports of abandoned horses, but in 2013 there were 806.

In January, the sanctuary was alerted to an abandoned cob in the Romford area of Essex, a county that is something of a hotspot for abandoned equines. She was so thin the bones in her hips and spine were visible, and she was suffering from liver damage. She had to be destroyed.

Already this year, 300 horses have been rescued from a site in South Wales, while 46 have been moved from a site in Hampshire.

The Remus Memorial horse sanctuary in Essex has been inundated since Christmas with abandoned horses. Molly, a cob  with a bouffant hairdo and sweet expression, was recently found pregnant, blind and starving, staggering on a verge next to a busy road, while several horses were found grazing beside the M25.

No one seems clear what should be done. The 2006 Animal Welfare Act is woefully vague. Only if a horse is pronounced to be in a perilous state by a vet can it be seized, and then only with the assistance of the police.

Even if an animal is microchipped, trying to trace the owner is often futile. So these horses roam, some destined to be hit by cars, others to shiver, depressed and starving. My rastafarian mare seems to be wondering what on earth she did wrong to deserve  such a fate.

The horses have joined roaming herds of so-called ‘gipsy’ animals

It was normal to see horses grazing common land and wasteland before the Enclosures Acts, which became law between 1750 and 1850. These Acts denied free grazing, or what is now known as fly-grazing. Like fly-tipping, it means a horse, like a bag of rubbish, has been dumped on land without permission. The travelling community, whose history has never been to settle, use horses and ponies as currency and, having no common land for grazing, dump equines on any available patch.

This is obviously dangerous if the horses are left near  roads – for animals and humans. But it’s very difficult to get the horses off these sites, even through the courts.

While my WHW officer says the travellers treat valuable horses well, it’s a different story for those used to hunt with dogs or raced on hard, unrelenting dual carriageways. I have received many accounts, from Harlow to Hull, of travellers’ horses tethered on bleak roundabouts. I’ve was told of one incident where a foal was strangled by her mother’s rope.

Animal rights group Animal Aid believes one answer to the problem is for local councils to set aside land for grazing. This could save council money and police time, and improve welfare.

Defra Minister Lord De Mauley wants new powers to seize equines, but Animal Aid’s horse consultant Dene Stansall said: ‘There is a current police effort to seize fly-grazed equines, but where do they go? To the RSPCA? Their sanctuaries are full and costing millions of pounds a year in feed and keep costs. Or to slaughter?’

All the animal charities I spoke to want ‘life plans’ for horses: the licensing of stallions, grading of all breeding mares, and even credit checks for prospective owners.

The British Equestrian Federation’s annual National Equine Forum is due to take place in London on Thursday. Nick de Brauwere, welfare director at Redwings and chairman of the National Equine Welfare Council, will press Environment Secretary Owen Paterson for action.

Whatever the outcome, the problem is now so acute that we cannot ignore it any longer. It’s a national scandal.

Horses built this country: they ploughed our fields, helped build an empire and fought for us in two world wars. Let’s not abandon them. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Don’t look the other way.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2571196/How-starving-horse-shames-middle-class-families-dumped-pet-ponies-afford-writes-LIZ-JONES.html#ixzz2vOQ4Ft6d
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Video: Sussex neglected horse rescued from mud

Comments Off on Video: Sussex neglected horse rescued from mud

“Yet more horses just left to fend for themselves….this makes me so fxxxxxg mad…Please watch the video at the link below”!!! If you can’t look after your bloody horse, then let someone else do it…or contact NGO’s for help…please don’t the animals pay for your mistakes!!”

26 February 2014 Last updated at 07:05 GMT

Footage sent to BBC South East has shown the rescue of an abandoned and neglected horse that was so weak it was unable to stand up.

It comes three weeks after a horse died in the same field near Hailsham, East Sussex.

Alison Van Beirendon, a resident who lives nearby, said she went into the field to lift the animal’s face out of the water and mud.

Vet Imogen Burrows said the horse was suffering from exposure, skin disease, and possibly other conditions that were making it thin.

Video & News Link:-http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-26347208

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