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Should animals be used in circus acts?

Circus mondao animals and circus acts

Published by Alice Sofield at 5:00am 5th September 2018

Here's the question, should animals be used in circus shows? 

It comes as Circus Mondao arrives in Lancashire ahead of their first show tonight (5th September). They're in Darwen, at the former Wellybobs, until Sunday and say they welcome all ages to see their show, full of a whole host of different acts 

They 'pride themselves on being a traditional family circus with a host of high flying acrobats, artists, clowns, showgirls, jugglers and animals'.

 

	 circus mondao acrobat - dan foster photography

 

Now, the question that always causes controversy, should animals be used in a circus show? 

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling on locals to avoid Circus Mondao while it performs in Darwen. They say the circus is one of a few which still feature wild animal acts, an 'outdated practice' which is 'overwhelmingly opposed by the public and animal experts'. 

However, Circus Mondao is supported by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and a spokesperson for the act said they take great care in looking after the animals that appear in their shows. 

Darwen residents urged to shun wild animal circus   

The British Veterinary Association has commented that that the 'welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus - in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour'. 

The argument given by ADI suggests the constant travel and their temporary nature, circuses cannot provide animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy. Welfare is always compromised.

However, Petra from Circus Mondao says: 

"They're (the animals) looked after really well and are always so happy. Every time I walk into the fields to see them, the horses for example, come running up to me. If we treated them unfairly, they wouldn't want to come anywhere near."

45 countries around the world have introduced prohibitions on animals in circuses to date. In the UK, the Scottish Government has passed a ban on wild animal acts, the first nation in the UK to do so.  

More than 200 local authorities in the UK have prohibited wild or all animal acts on public land.

However, there's still fierce public debate over animals being used in circus acts in England.

Circus Mondao

Petra is part of Circus Mondao. She's spoken to 2BR about the circus and why their animals shouldn't be banned from participating. Petra, said: 

"We are supported by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) who have strict rules and regulations we abide by, such as the size of enclosures and what the animals should eat. 

"It's no different to horse dressage or a dog agility show. The camels give rides to children who love it and all animals including our wilder species, are born and bred in the UK, including their parents. They know no different. 

"We have a catalogue of videos on our website showing what the animals are up to and where they live. After shows, audience members can even come and see the animals and see where they live. We don't want people wondering where they live and if they have enough room, we're happy to show that they have normal enclosures, just like you'd see in a stables. 

"They're not jumping through rings of fire or anything like that, they trot around and just have fun."

Animals included in the circus act include zebra, camel, horses, lamas, goats, pony, deer. 

Circus mondao horse and rider

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