Thursday, 27 April 2017

Help Ban Wild Animals in Circuses


Roll up roll up - the circus is in town.  Doesn't everyone love them?  The big top with its slapstick clowns, daredevil acrobats and ...... oh and performing wild animals.  In 17 countries around the world, wild animals are not allowed in circuses but in France, the UK, the US and countless other countries this is not the case.  Throughout the summer, across France you will see posters proudly advertising whichever circus is in town and without a modicum of compassion also displaying the wild animals that will supposedly amaze and delight you.

STOP.  This is 2017 and I thought we had left such atrocities against Nature well and truly in the past.  But no, this is not the case and this was once again brought to my attention when Phoebe, a friend down in Provence, sent me pictures of this circus hippo that she snapped in her local town. Look carefully too and you will see lions caged in small travelling wagons acting as part of the hippo enclosure.

Photo by Phoebe from Lou Messugo



Now as regular readers of this blog know, I love hippos but there is no way I would ever want to see a hippo like this.  How it can be possibly be considered right that an adult hippo should find itself in an circus in Provence, performing night after night to the crowds?   Quite simply it is wrong on so many levels - in fact it is more than wrong, it is barbaric.

To subdue a wild animal to such a degree that it will perform on demand can only be achieved by completely breaking its spirit and this can only be brought about through repeatedly cruel practices designed to terrify the animal into submission.  Take a look at this page from The Dodo if you want to learn more - Baby circus elephant training.  I am sure The Dodo will not mind me sharing a picture from their website if it helps spread the word as to how vile this practice is.  I think it is safe to say that the hippo above went through something similar.

Image from The Dodo
Look a bit closer at the picture, at the man to the left of the woman and you will see he is holding a bullhook, a sharp double pointed stick that serves one purpose only - to inflict pain on the wild animal who eventually learns that the only way to escape the pain is to do whatever his human captors demand .... even if this is nothing like what his body is naturally designed to do.

Two other things really worry me about this circus hippo.  Firstly, a hippo is a water creature and I can be 100% sure that this poor creature will never get to wallow in a warm river and do all the things it would do naturally in the wild.  It also seems to be alone, yet hippos naturally live in large groups.  Likewise with the lions who should be roaming the African plains in large family groups, not cooped up for their entire lives, never able to run free as nature intended.  Animals forced to live in unnatural conditions often exhibit behaviour such as pacing or circling, compulsive head swinging, bar biting or self-mutilation in a vain attempt to relieve boredom and find a replacement for the natural conditions they so desire.  

Secondly, look how close the children are to the hippo as they gawk at these poor animals.  Hippos are dangerous animals and in Africa kill around 3000 people every year and injure many, many more.  Phoebe said that the hippo enclosure was extremely flimsy and not even attached to the ground.  What is to stop that hippo launching itself at the fence and severely injuring or even killing the people nearby? 

Photo by Phoebe from Lou Messugo

So whilst the audience at a circus may never have wielded a bullhook or tied up a young animal forcing it into submission, each and every one of them is the reason these animals continue to suffer on a daily basis - with no audience there would be no need for wild circus animals.

But there is something you can do about this.  If you are in France please contact your local Mairie as it is there that the decision is made whether to allow the circus to pitch up or not.  PETA France has drafted a letter you can send to your mayor demanding that they do not allow the circus in your commune.  You can find it here.  Please send it NOW.   For readers in the UK, PETA UK has drafted a similar letter to send to the Government.  I do however suggest that you delay sending this until after the election on June 8th.

And when you want to go to the circus remember that there are plenty of viable alternatives where no animals are forced to perform in the name of entertainment.  If you truly want to be entertained at the circus then book tickets to the fantastic Cirque du Soleil.  You will not be disappointed.  But I implore you.  Never on any account book tickets to a circus that uses wild animals.  Never.



ANIMALTALESLou MessugoA Green and Rosie Life

PoCoLo



32 comments :

  1. Well done Rosie for getting this out so quickly! I'm shocked that UK still allows wild animals in circuses I really thought it was better than that. Only 17 countries in the world is an appalling statistic. It's awful to see the poor hippo and big cats in the centre of our town, just so barbaric and outdated. We are doing our best here to get the circus moved on, but that's not going to cure the problem, getting an outright ban is what's needed.

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    1. Riviera.writer@gmail.com1 May 2017 at 11:31

      It is indeed :(

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  2. great post - I quit going to circus decades ago. Ringling Bros retired all their elephants to a nature park here in Fl a couple of years ago and a blogger wrote a post about missing them. I commented that's kinder to let the animals live as intended in the wild. Some people don't get it.

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    1. Which sadly is why circuses still have wild animals - people do not see the cruelty involved.

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  3. Off to put some more money in the swear jar! That poor hippo ... That's just so sad :(

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  4. I can't remember the last time I went to the circus! It's sad to see practices like this are still around.

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    1. Thanks for sharing this important message on the #WasteLessWednesday blog hop!

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  5. Great post! I didn't realise French circuses still had animals in them. Horrendous.

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    1. I knew French circuses did allow them and have often seen them on circuses passing through or setting up their awful shows locally .... but I didn't realise they were still able to use them in UK circuses. Apparently many do not but some still do. Appalling.

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  6. Well done for posting about this. I have been repeatedly surprised by the number of circuses with wild animals in France. In the UK there is a brilliant circus that shows us that there is a quality alternative: http://www.giffordscircus.com/ I'm sure there are more examples than this, but it goes to prove that you don't need wild animals to have a good show (indeed, it is probably better without).

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    1. I can't see how anyone would want to watch wild animals in a circus when those without animals are so much more exciting. Because all the ones that have been local to us have had animals in them my boys have never been to the circus. I really must try and get to see a non animal one with them one day soon.

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  7. We saw circus animals in pens outside La Tranche town in the Vendee and we were really surprised. There was at least one elephant. I didn't realise that animals were still allowed in British circuses because I think this is now fairly rare. Poor hippo.

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    1. Similar to me - I thought they were banned in the UK but not so. In fact the only European country that has banned them is the Netherlands and that was only sorted out very recently.

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  8. I'm always heartbroken by any situation that puts an animal in distress. Thanks for putting together this informative and shareable post that educates on the outdated use of animals for this sort of entertainment.

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    1. A pleasure and I hope it can help get this despicable act stopped for ever.

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  9. That poor hippo and the dreadful picture of the elephant. I agree with you, animals do not belong in circuses and I would never visit a circus with animals. #AllAboutFrance

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    1. Me neither - it is on a similar level to bull fighting in my mind. Horrible.

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  10. I think I've seen both in my life and the most memorable has been the circus with just people. Cirque du Soleil #GoingGreen

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    1. One day I will get to see Cirque du Soleil.

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  11. Despicable. I cannot believe that circuses and other organizations still use wild animals in their shows. And that people support it and attend them. I can't watch anything, even on TV, with elephants or any other animal in it (except for maybe when they train dogs, at least they still look like they are having fun...). Also why I will never go to SeaWorld or any other crap like that. Sick.

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    1. You are so right about places like SeaWorld as well - they have no place in today's society.

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  12. I can't stand circuses and will never take my boys to see one. We love Cirque du Soleil! Thanks for sharing with #wastelesswednesday

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    1. Mine have never been either and understand why.

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  13. Sad to see this still going on. #AllAboutFrance

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    1. More than sad - it is horrible. And I Have just read about a circus trainer being badly mauled by a lion in the ring in front of children here in France. Let's hope that helps to save these poor animals from their miserable lives.

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  14. It's heartbreaking isn't it? You'd think on this day and age, this kind of treatment would be banned by now. Sigh. I don't like seeing animals in cages either :( #animaltales

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    1. Same here. So awful and we try to call ourselves civilised.

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  15. I thought animals were not allowed in circus in the UK, I had no idea it was still allowed! That's appalling. My mum didn't like animals in the circus and kind of bred that dislike into me too. It is so cruel and unecessary. I'll go look at those links. Thanks for sharing and informing us... #animaltales and #goinggreen

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    1. So did I and I wrote the blog post to say that and then had to change it when I did a bit more research.

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