Like if you agree, wild animals DO NOT belong in circuses!: “Animal circuses”: Cruel entertainment or a dying art?”

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“I understand, there may be some circuses who do put the animals needs first; I’m not saying all circuses are cruel to their animals! But I still don’t think wild animals should be in cages, travelling from town to town; to perform unnatural tricks, to the paying public; no matter how well they are cared for. The circuses may very well maintain their animals are well fed & cared for, that’s all well & good. But no pitched circus can provide its animals with a likeness to the animals own living habitats. It would be impossible for circuses to provide lions or tigers with rocks, caves, trees, brush or access to a lake, for tigers & other animals that love the water. These are the basics, so the animals can exhibit their natural behaviour; especially when they are constantly on the move! The council floor space granted to the circuses probably just about holds all the wagons carrying the animals, along with all the trucks needed to erect the circus tents, caravans & other stalls etc. So there is little room for the animals between performances; to act in a natural way!

Horses & zebra love to run round etc. but In the News Link below, it says that ponies are tethered to the circus tents, camels are tethered in fields, with horses in temporary stables & makeshift paddocks; animals can not express their natural instincts when denied their normal living habitats! Where do the tigers or lions go when not performing; tigers love to swim! Or do they just stay in their beast wagons? I’ve seen enough evidence to convince me that circus animals are not happy animals! They are denied their basic instincts, they are not meant to perform or stay in holding cells in between shows. As such many animals exhibit repetitive stereotypical behaviour; due to their lifestyles, they would never do it in the wild! So I still say wild animals do not belong in any type of exhibit where they are forced to perform…it’s wrong & about time our Government got off their backsides & implemented a BAN like they promised! .”

POST By Jonathan Brown 26/9/2014 

Changing times: With a legal ban on the use of wild animal acts in UK circuses impending, Jonathan Brown goes behind the scenes at one of only two left in the UK to get to the heart of the debate.

Petra Jackson pictured with Zebedee the zebra at Circus Mondao, in Tingley, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme

Petra Jackson pictured with Zebedee the zebra at Circus Mondao, in Tingley, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme

Behind the big top at Circus Mondao – one of only two licensed animal circuses in the UK – zebras, camels and reindeer are roaming to the disgust of animal rights campaigners.

At its current resting place at Thorpe Lane, Tingley, there are Shetland ponies tethered to the circus tent, camels tethered in the fields, while its seven horses are split between airy temporary stables and makeshift paddocks to keep them separated from the freely wandering elderly zebra ‘Zebedee’.

By any means it’s a strange, if not slightly unnatural, sight to see at fields between Leeds and Wakefield nevertheless the animals seem contented and oblivious to the legal and moral storm that surrounds Circus Mondao’s very existence.

Next month draft legislation to enforce an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, which could eventually come into force by December 2015, will have its crucial second reading amid increasing public protests.

Touring the circus on its eighth visit to rural Tingley in as many years, a vast convoy of 17 trucks, cars and caravans hauled around the country by a 30-strong workforce nine months of the year is gearing up for its next show.

We’re led around the site by veteran ringmistress Petra Jackson as Romanian gymnasts warm up in the big top and the animals are given time to relax outside. She is immediately on the defensive. “Have a look at where our animals live – you can’t believe everything you read on the internet,” she said. “It’s very hard to get our voice across. They are not kept in a shoebox under the bed, they’re grazing freely with fresh food and fresh water.”

It’s not surprising that she is on her guard. Life on the road with a modern day animal circus consists of a relentless stream of protests and media criticism outside of daily performances and weekly travel.

But having entered circus life aged 16 to train and care for dogs and ponies, Ms Jackson is used to the pressure. She has spent 22 years in the industry and joined Circus Mondao nine years ago.

Forthright in her view that all her animals live fulfilling lives, she is adamant that traditional circus is by no means the “Victorian relic” campaigners suggest.

“The people who come and see the show don’t say it’s outdated – it’s not what the general public are saying,” she said.

“The Great British public want to be able to make their own decision about what they want to see. If they didn’t want to see animals perform in the circus they wouldn’t come to see us and we would be out of business.” “The public did make their own decision about animals in circuses, according to a report by Born Free Foundation and RSPCA (2006).   “See Link To PDF – Its time Parliament changed it’s act;Below”

 98.9% of readers of the Sunday Mirror newspaper who expressed a view thought that the UK’s only remaining circus elephant (see section 6.1 – UK Circus elephant) should retire (2005). 

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee The Environment,Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) is a cross-party committee appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure,administration,and policy of the Department for Environment,Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and its associated bodies. In its examination of the Animal Welfare Bill,the Committee has recommended that: In addition,to date (11/01/06),92 Members of Parliament have signed Early Day Motion No.468 recognising that the circus environment cannot provide for the needs of wild animals. The use of wild animals in circuses be prohibited The use of all other performing animals in circuses,television,theatre,films,advertising licensed “See Link To PDF – Its time Parliament changed it’s act;Below”

In spite of her defiance, the evidence suggests the days of UK animal circus acts are numbered – even aside from the looming change in the law.

From 1998/9 the number of circuses practicing with wild animals in the UK fell from 20 to four in just five years, with dwindling audiences and high-profile animal cruelty cases contributing to the fact that only two such circuses exist today.

Circus Mondao, with its collection of over 30 mainly grazing stock, and Peter Jolly’s Circus, which features five lions and tigers, have rarely been out of the headlines as a result.

And having worked with big cats herself, Ms Jackson is hardly damning of their use. “The natural environment out there isn’t what it used to be with deforestation and there is so much more poaching and hunting going on,” she said. “People don’t realise they (big cats) relax a lot in the daytime and what they do in the circus is no different to what they do in the wild – they jump and leap from one rock to another, it’s just a trained movement.

She argues that most circus animals are “captive bred” and are used to a circus routine which causes them no harm, meaning animals such as Mondao’s zebra and one of its mules have easily outlasted their predicted life expectancies.

“The tide of opinion is against us. There’s no scientific evidence against us. We’ve been inspected by the Government, they have licensed us and all the inspections that have happened previously didn’t find anything wrong with the animals in the circus, it’s just that the animal rights people don’t think it’s right to have them in captivity.”

5.3 Abnormal behaviour
It is known that wild animals in captivity often display abnormal behaviour,with a particular problem being repetitive, seemingly functionless actions referred to as stereotypic behaviour. Stereotypic behaviour may be the result of frustrated needs,or be a coping mechanism developed in a current or previous inadequate or stressful environment,and the presence of stereotypic behaviour is generally acknowledged to be an indicator of current or previous poor welfare. Evidence exists for stereotypic behaviour being significant in circus animals (e.g.Friend & Parker 1999,Gruber 2000,Krawczel et al.2005, Schmid 1995),and this is supported by anecdotal evidence and video footage. Indeed,legislation in New Zealand attempts to tackle the problem,stating that animals displaying continuous signs of distress must not be held or used in circuses. Presence of stereotypic behaviour in some species may serve as partial evidence that circuses are unable to meet the needs of wild animals.  “See Link To PDF – Its time Parliament changed it’s act;Below”

Nationwide around 200 local authorities, including Leeds City Council, have pre-empted a wider ban by refusing to warrant animal circuses using council-owned land.

The arrival of Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus in West Yorkshire last year attracted the attention of protestors in Otley and Queensbury, Bradford, last year, and Circus Mondao’s visits to Thornton, Calverley and Tingley so far have attracted similar responses from the likes of Leeds Animal Protection and Bradford and Calderdale Animal Friends.

Meanwhile Animal Defenders International has called on residents to avoid the circus as wild animal acts are an “outdated practice which is overwhelmingly opposed by the public”.

Jan Creamer, president of ADI, said: “Most people are now aware of the terrible suffering of wild animals in circuses and shun such acts. A national ban has been promised but, until it is brought in, these animals are forced to perform silly tricks and endure conditions which deny them their natural behaviours. We urge local people not to support circus suffering.”

Recent high profile cases of mistreatment have scarred the perception of animal circuses for many. Circus owner Bobby Roberts was given a three-year conditional discharge in 2012 for mistreating the UK’s last circus elephant. The conviction came after a groom was secretly filmed striking the 58-year-old elephant, called Anne, with a pitchfork in early 2011.

Nevertheless animal cruelty and circuses are not necessarily intertwined. Both remaining UK animal circuses are regularly vetted and have been licensed by DEFRA.

In fact after publishing the Wild Animals in Circuses Report which looks set to bring about the ban on wild animal acts, committee chair Anne McIntosh MP said “there is no overwhelming welfare case for a ban on wild animals in travelling circuses”, stating there are already laws in place to deal with welfare abuse.

But whether wild animal acts are at all necessary or viable remains debatable. Either way, the impending ban looks set to spell the end of a 150-year-old industry.

Ms Jackson added: “We don’t know what’s going to happen, that’s very true. We don’t think like to think about it.”


  • The use of animals in the circus dates back around a century and a half.
  • Prior to travelling circuses and the advent of public zoos, those wanting to lay their eyes on exotic wild animals would head to fairs.
  • Before animals were exhibited, travelling shows were likely to be exhibiting people with physical abnormalities, regarded at the time as ‘freaks of nature’.
  • From the 19th Century animals were taken on tour as displays of exotic creatures before they were combined with traditional circus shows – the first true animal acts involved horses.
  • US circus performer Isaac Van Amburgh is recognised as the first wild animal trainer in circus history, having entered a cage with several big cats as early as 1833.
  • Equestrian circus became a world phenomenon during the 1800s, with travelling circuses pitching up American-style big top tents from the mid 1830s.
  • In Europe, the travelling circus and menagerie reached its peak between the two world wars.
  • But while exotic animals once drew large crowds, the animal rights movements of the 1960s onwards pressured circuses to re-think their links with animals.
  • Shows began to present circus in a more artistic light, while many circuses began to end or amend their association with animal acts.
  • Although not a travelling circus, German-American duo Siegfried & Roy who performed with white lions and tigers in Las Vegas ended their 13-year stage careers after Roy was attacked and nearly killed by a seven-year-old male tiger named Montecore in 2003.
  • Such high profile accidents were added to by cases of ill treatment among some of the more unscrupulous circuses and began to shape perceptions.

News Link:-

 Public Opinion.
Recent decades have seen increasing public exposure to media such as television documentaries and to foreign travel, allowing people the opportunity to observe either directly or indirectly animals in the wild, their natural behaviour and habitats. In addition, examples of animal cruelty such as those uncovered during the investigation and successful prosecution of individuals from the Chipperfield family in 1997-1999 have aroused considerable public concern. It is of little surprise therefore that there has been a concurrent decline in the popularity of circuses featuring performing wild animals, which in turn may have led to circuses disposing of their wild animal acts. There have been several polls that serve to indicate this change in public opinion:“See Link To PDF – Its time Parliament changed it’s act;Below”

NOW:-Take action!

Ask the government to keep their promise to end the use of all wild animals in circuses by 2015!

If your local authority has allowed animal circuses on council-owned land, you can write a letter expressing your concernto your local councillor.
[1]  Harris S, Iossa G & Soulsbury CD (2006) A review of the welfare of wild animals in circuses (PDF 404KB). Report submitted to the Circus Working Group, 4 December.

Relevant documents

News Link:-

Wild animals in captivity

In 2012, the Westminster Government announced it would finally grant wild animals in circuses their long overdue ban. Two and a half years later and it appears that the government has turned its back on wild animals in the circus.

Our last chance before the election lies with Jim Fitzpatrick MP who has tabled a banning bill to pick up where the government has left off. The banning bill will have it’ssecond reading on 17 October. This is a very important date as it could be our very last chance to see this much discussed ban become a reality.

 News Link By RSPCA:

Breeding animals for a few generations doesn’t wipe out thousands of years of evolution; essentially a tiger born in a circus has the same needs as a tiger born in the wild.

We’re not saying that the wild is an idyllic place free from problems – it’s not! But animals have evolved over thousands of years, adapting to live in certain types of natural environments.

Placing an animal in surroundings that are unsuitable for the species can cause stress and behavioural problems. Animals kept in an improper environment or fed the wrong diet can suffer, resulting in illness or death. In some environments, we believe it’s best not to keep certain wild animals at all, as their needs cannot be met – particularly if the animal is there for entertainment. Examples are;

If you cannot meet the needs of an animal then you should not keep that animal.

 News Link By RSPCA:-

Wild animals don’t belong in circuses…

Take ActionThe 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.

We have no confidence in the licensing scheme introduced by the government as an interim measure while the ban was being passed. Put simply, it does virtually nothing to protect the welfare of wild animals in circuses.
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, the animals are still waiting.

Take action, email your MP now and urge them throw their support behind this ‘last chance’ bIll…

News Link RSPCA:-

Horse rescued after five days in underground bunker

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A two-year-old horse has been rescued after being stuck in an underground chamber for five days.

Chico fell through a hole in the ground near a farm in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, on Saturday 14 July.

He was stuck in the concrete bunker for five days before firefighters dug him out on Thursday 19 July. 

Eleven firefighters worked for four hours to free him. He was sedated and walked out, uninjured.

“We were called out on the Wednesday (18 July) and could hear an animal in distress but didn’t know where it was coming from. We spent three hours looking but couldn’t find him,” Pete Owen from West Yorkshire Fire Service told H&H.

“The next day the owners had found him — he had fallen into a bunker through a foot-thick concrete roof. It had steel walls and concrete slabs,he’d fallen through a 2ft hole in the ground.

“We assessed him and he was fine, so a vet sedated him and we dug through the walls to get him out.

 “It was remarkable — after being down there for five days he was absolutely fine. We’ve been called out to other trapped animals in the past but the outcome hasn’t been as positive.

He’s now back in the field with the other horses.”

News Link:-


Number of animals used in University of Leeds testing revealed

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Almost 17,000 animals were used in medical experiments conducted by the University of Leeds last year – and most of them were killed.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed the university has carried out experiments on 55,235 mice and 5,155 rats over the past five years.

Other animals subjected to scientific tests between 2007 and 2011 were pigs, sheep, bats, gerbils, rabbits, guinea pigs, toads, frogs, and birds.

A university spokesperson said the “overwhelming majority” of laboratory animals were killed at the end of procedures so their tissues could be examined.

However, animals studied in the wild – such as birds – or those in farm settings, were usually returned “unharmed” to their environment.

Last year, the charity Animal Aid held a demonstration in Leeds city centre over the university’s lethal experiments on dogs. Its heart surgery research is thought to have claimed the lives of around 100 beagles.

However, no dogs have been used in medical research at the university for the past six years.

University veterinary officer Dr Khawar Abbas said: “In Leeds the last dog we used was in 2006. “We are not using dogs for medical research at the moment and we currently have no plans to do so.”

Although thousands of primates are killed in the name of research every year, Dr Abbas, who has worked at the university since 2001 as well between 1982 and 1990, said to his knowledge they had never been used in Leeds.

He defended the number of animals used in Leeds, saying it would be comparable to that used by similar universities. He added: “It all depends on the type of research they are doing.” And he said the animals’ welfare was taken very seriously, with vets on hand 24 hours.

All prescription medicines available today have involved the use of animals in their development.

British law states that any new drug used for medicine must be tested on at least two different types of live mammal.

Many award-winning scientists claim they couldn’t have made their discoveries without animal testing. Penicillin was tested on mice, as were vaccines for meningitis and polio.

A university spokesperson said its experiments on animals had led to better understanding of diseases and health problems including cancer, childhood leukaemia and heart failure, as well as obesity, drug addiction and pain management.

Alternatives include medical imaging, computer modelling, human volunteer studies and statistical studies. But Dr Abbas said if their objectives couldn’t be achieved using the alternatives they would apply to use living creatures.

Research using animals is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act and carried out under licences granted by the Home Secretary, who is expected to balance the benefits of a project against likely cost to the animals’ wellbeing.

But in a move to integrate EU and UK laws, the Government plans to remove protection granted to stray domestic animals like cats and dogs.

Under the new rules, lost or abandoned pets could end up in a lab, being experimented on. In 2011, 97 per cent of the creatures the University of Leeds conducted experiments on were mice.

Scientists rely on mice for many reasons, including size, rapid reproduction and the fact their genetic and biological characteristics closely resemble those of humans.

The number of larger animals used has dropped due to increasing use of genetically-modified mice.

News Link:-

Two horses die at Bramham horse trials

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Competition at the three-star Bramham International Horse Trials was marred by the deaths of two horses on cross-country day.

Clea Phillipps and Lead the Way, pictured at Burghley in 2011

Jagganath, ridden by Michael Jackson, and Lead the Way, ridden by Clea Phillipps, both fatally collapsed while taking part in the CCI3* at the in West Yorkshire event. Neither incident involved falls at jumps.

Jagganath finished the competition without penalty to be in eighth place, but collapsed after the finish. He was immediately attended by the emergency vets who were unable to save him. His accident happened at about 11.40am on Saturday morning.

Jagganath was a 10-year-old gelding by Jumbo, owned by Carole Mortimer. He had 150 British Eventing points.

Lead the Way died at fence 13, the Woodhead Seeds Hollow. He jumped fence 13 and then collapsed as he jumped the ‘A’ element of fence 14, still part of the Woodhead Seeds Hollow. He was immediately attended by the vets on course who were unable to save him. Clea Phillipps was uninjured. The accident occurred at about 2.40pm on Saturday afternoon.

Lead the Way was a 14-year-old gelding by Supreme Leader, owned by Clea and Vere Phillipps and Judy Barnard. He had 1231 BE points.

News Link:-

‘Twisted & Sick’ badger baiter Anthony Lee jailed

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A man who urged his dog to attack and kill badgers and kept footage of the fights on his phone has been jailed.

A magistrate wiped away tears while watching three videos of animal fights that Anthony Lee, 23, recorded.

Lee, of Coronation Way, Keighley, West Yorkshire, admitted three counts of animal fighting and was jailed for 23 weeks at Bradford Magistrates’ Court.

The RSPCA said the case was “as bad as one can get” and described Lee’s actions as “twisted and sick”.

In the first video played to the court, a badger could be heard squealing alongside the sound of laughter from Lee and another person.

Life ban

The second video showed a badger being killed after being shaken around in Lee’s dog’s mouth while another dog had hold of it.

The third video showed a dog fighting a badger in its sett.

Badgers suffer an “extreme amount of pain” as a result of badger baiting and the dogs involved also suffer injuries, prosecutor Nigel Monaghan told the court.

He added: “In terms of animal cruelty the RSPCA regard this case as bad in terms of suffering and cruelty as one can get.”

Lee was given a three-week discount on the maximum sentence the court could hand down because he entered a guilty plea.

Chairman of the bench Robert Thornton said: “This is the most serious case we can think of.”

Lee was also banned from keeping or looking after animals for the rest of his life. Both of his dogs have been re-homed.

Badger baiters draw no financial benefit from their actions, RSPCA investigator Carroll Lamport said after the hearing.

He said: “It is just for their own twisted and sick kicks and there is a really high level of cruelty. ” I couldn’t agree more!”

News Link:-

In need of a loving new home: Soldier the Alsatian starved to within an inch of its life by cruel owner

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  • Shocking treatment among a growing number of animal cruelty cases
  • Convictions for cruelty or neglect rose by a quarter last year to 1,341
  • Others included dog stabbed with potato peeler, blind kitten dumped
    in a carrier bag and bearded dragons left for months inside handbags

With barely a morsel of flesh left on his body and his fur falling out, Soldier looks on his last legs.

The once-strapping Alsatian cross was discovered by RSPCA inspectors weighing just half his healthy weight after being starved to bare bones by his former owner.

A view from above reveals just how shockingly close he came to death, with his body measuring just a couple of inches across at its narrowest.











But his story is one which is becoming increasingly common as convictions for cruelty to animals rose by almost a quarter last year, according to figures released today by the RSPCA.

Cases included a dog repeatedly stabbed with a potato peeler, a blind kitten found dumped in a carrier bag and a pair of bearded dragons left for two months inside handbags in a loft.

Some 1,341 people were convicted of cruelty or neglect against pets and farm animals in 2011, a rise of 23.5 per cent on the previous year.

Shockingly thin: Soldier's owner has been prosecuted for animal cruelty, along with more than 1,000 others in the past year

A total of 74 prison sentences were imposed – a rise of 27% – including one for a man filmed kicking his dog and pulling him into the air with his lead while taking him for a walk.

There was also a 21 per cent jump in the number of disqualification orders imposed by the courts with 1,100 people banned from keeping animals.

The RSPCA received 1,314,795 calls from the public last year and had a 98.2 per cent prosecution success rate for the cases it took to court.

But now, on the eve of RSCPA week – its annual fundraising push – the charity says it is struggling to cope with the upsurge in cases.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: ‘The RSPCA faces a crisis that is stretching us to breaking point.

‘We show zero tolerance to animal abusers. Anyone causing animals pain for profit or pleasure will be tracked down and prosecuted.

‘We need the courts and councils, police and people who care to join us in standing up and getting justice for Britain’s abused animals.’

RSPCA inspectors witnessed some appalling acts of cruelty including finding an emaciated dog alive in a home where another dog, two cats, a hamster and a rat had died of starvation.

Cross breed collie Beethoven had only survived after it fed on the remains of the two cats. His fellow dog Buster had died.

Jayne Bashford of the RSPCA described the scene at the property as ‘truly horrific and disturbing’.

She added: ‘Particularly disturbing to me were the scratch marks on the rear of the kitchen door where Buster had desperately tried to escape before he was found dead in his bed.’

A Wolverhampton man was jailed for 20 weeks in jail after he admitted 34 animal cruelty charges.

Beethoven was rescued and has now been rehomed in Liverpool.  The RSPCA statistics also record some amazing stories of survival.

They include the case of a lurcher-type dog which survived after two men broke her back and stabbed her with a potato peeler.

Maggie May was left to die but was nursed back to full fitness by RSPCA staff.

Statistically, the north of England has the worst record when it comes to cruelty to animals for 2011 with 1048 people reported and 533 of those convicted.

West Yorkshire was the area with the most cases reported at 216 with 82 convictions.

The Welsh appear to be kindest to their animals with only 84 convictions from 220 reports of animal cruelty.

Sally Case, head of society prosecutions, said: ‘The RSPCA strives to keep animals with their owners wherever possible and offers advice on improving their welfare.

‘Overwhelmingly this advice is followed, but where it isn’t, or where someone has already harmed an animal there has to be a way of ensuring that animals are not left to suffer and the RSPCA is the charity people turn to – and we are struggling to continue providing this service.

‘Of course we work closely with governmental and other charitable organisations, but we are the main organisation which prosecutes those who abuse animals and which can prevent cruelty to animals.

‘We can’t do this without the help and support of the public and we need it now more than ever.’

RSPCA Week 2012 runs from April 30 to May 6. To donate or find out more about Soldier contact 03001 238 000 or click here

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