Elephant suffering exposed at the Great British Circus
On Wednesday, 19 August, Animal Defenders International released shocking footage of violence and confinement at the Great British Circus.
The footage, which can be viewed on You Tube, shows a staggeringly high level of casual violence – elephants are brutally hit in the face with a metal elephant hook, a broom and a pitchfork; a worker cruelly twists an elephant’s tail; and the frightened animals retreat and cry out when struck or hooked.
Limited for long periods of the day in a small tent, the elephants are also chained tightly every night for up to eleven hours with only enough room to take one step forward or backwards. When the circus moves to a new location, the elephants are confined to their cramped transporter and forced to wait until their tent is erected, resulting in many hours being shut away.
The level of disturbed, abnormal behaviour exhibited by the elephants – such as rocking, swaying and head bobbing – is horrifying. These pointless, repetitive movements are known as stereotypic behaviour. Sonja, a wild-caught African elephant, was observed for 11 hours and spent nearly 40% of this time displaying stereotypic behaviour; the two Asian elephants also showed similar disturbing movements. Animal behaviourists believe that this shows that the animal is suffering and is not able to cope with its situation.
ADI’s investigation broke on Sky News and in the Daily Express and then the phones at the ADI office rang off the hook as Chief Executive Jan Creamer and Campaigns Director Tim Phillips crammed in back-to-back interviews throughout the day. Subsequent coverage included BBC national and London News, ITN News, LBC, Daily Telegraph
and The Sun, with more outlets, including The Mirror and Capital Radio, picking up the story the following day.
Please immediately email Jim Fitzpatrick at Defra at firstname.lastname@example.org – or write to him at Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London W1P 3JR – asking him that the UK government not only honour the promise it made 3 years ago to ban wild animals in circuses, but also extend the proposed ban to include domesticated animals too.
All animals in circuses are compromised by the travelling and temporary nature of the circus, with severe confinement inevitable and physical abuse commonplace. They have no legal protection, as there are no regulations to protect them under the Animal Welfare Act.
Bolivia has recently become the first country in the world to ban the use of both wild and domestic animals and circuses. The UK should follow their lead and implement a ban as soon as possible.
MAKE A DONATION
Please also send a donation towards this campaign. As well as pushing Defra to press ahead swiftly with a ban, ADI is also looking to prosecute the perpetrators of the cruelty and is currently seeking legal opinion on this matter. This is a costly and time-consuming exercise but one which we feel we have to progress. Click here to donate online or call the ADI office on 0207 630 3340.
Help us consign animal circus acts to history, where they belong.
Thank you for your support.