04/18/03 Yes to Circus, No to Animal Acts

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The Ugliest Show on Earth

A day before the first performance of the circus Embell Riva, Animal Friends organizes a press conference with a movie called "The Ugliest Show on Earth" at MAMA club, in Preradoviceva ulica 18 in Zagreb, on Thursday, April 17, at 12 noon.

We are going to show a documentary made by a British group called Animal Defenders, recorded almost entirely by hidden cameras in different world circuses. The cruelty recorded in the documentary clearly shows that circus is definitely no fun for animals. Numerous scenes of beating animals, isolation, inhuman transport, captivity and killing of wild animals are undeniable proof of the cruelty that animals experience daily while serving for the "entertainment" of people.

Reporters will be given the requests that we have sent to the City of Zagreb and the mayor in which we ask for the banning of circuses with animal acts.

We are also going to refer to the protests of our branches that took place during the circus tour in Split, Zadar and Sisak - we will explain why we have reported a police station in Zadar to the Ministry of Internal Affairs after illegal interruption of a protest of our branch in Zadar, and we will also refer to a statement of the circus spokesperson for the press in Sisak.

Due to our belief that animals in circuses suffer and that they should be free instead of locked up in cages, Animal Friends is going to organize protests in front of the circus, before the beginning of the shows. The first protest is going to be organized before the first performance, on Friday, April 18, at 7 P.M.

We ask you to respond and to participate at the press conference and in Animal Friends' protest.

High wire act and burning hoops are no fun!

"We don't agree that animals should be trained to perform tricks. We prefer giving this task to people," says Pierre Parisien from the renewed troup Cirque du Soleil from Quebec who developed a circus renaissance around the world. "Those are animals, not performers. They should be in a jungle," says the art director of the troup. "We are against the method in which those animals are trained and I'm not so sure that it is necessary that those elephants and tigers have to spend half of their lives in cages performing tricks around the world," he explained. "We are not going to have animals in our shows anymore," he added.

Why should anyone find animal acts entertaining at all? Why is it amusing to watch exhausted and locked up animals performing unnatural acts?

Most of their lives animals in circuses are kept in chains, small spaces or their transport vehicles. They are not being given food and water so that they don't make a mess. Chained, locked up, lost and often under sedation, 90% of their time they wait to be trained or to perform. Whips, electrical sticks and other "tools" are often used in order to make them perform. We mustn't forget that we are talking about wild animals that aren't used to travel, or live in different climates, perform and be kept in captivity.

The animals are transported in small trucks, no matter whether is it cold or hot or if they have to satisfy their natural needs. For example, elephants that, while in the nature, walk around 30 kilometers a day, are locked up in chains and tents in the middle of winter or closed in trucks during summer heat. Only in Croatia the circus is going to travel around the whole country visiting over 20 cities.

Their lives are turned into a nightmare and their only purpose is to "entertain" circus visitors. But people who have a heart and eyes can clearly see and realize that animal suffering is no fun at all.

If Vienna and Venice can do it, so can Zagreb

Mayoress Vlasta Pavic and the City Government have been sent a request for the banning of circuses with animal acts, as is the case in many cities of the world. Over 50% of British municipalities have banned those circuses to perform - and so have many cities in West Europe, as well as Israel, USA and others.

The closest cities to Zagreb that have banned circuses with animal acts are Vienna and Venice. If circuses with animal acts are ok, why are they being banned? And why an Italian circus such as this one does not perform in Venice which is also one of the cities that bans such circuses?

So, the City Government has been sent a request to introduce a ban to that kind of circuses and the same request has been sent to over 20 cities in Croatia on behalf of Animal Friends. Up to now, we haven't received any reply and as we can see, the circus has obtained all the necessary permits. We are going to repeat our request during this tour, but this time with a petition signed by numerous citizens of this country who agree that this kind of animal maltreatment should be banned.

The petition for the banning of circuses with animal acts is being signed in all cities where there are Animal Friends' branches, as well as on the Animal Friends' web site: www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr, and the petition is going to be handed to city authorities together with the request for the banning of the circus.




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