Friday, 27 February 2009

Circus slammed over elephant act

Elephants are making a controversial return to the big top in a show the RSPCA has branded a disgrace.

Three will be performing at the Great British Circus in Nottinghamshire, ten years after the last circus performance by an elephant in the UK.

The animal charity said the planned return was a "body blow for animal welfare in this country".

It has called on the Government to ban wild animals from circuses and urged the public to think twice before going to the show.

The Great British Circus' website lauded their return, as well as boasting "the only white tiger in any British circus" would be making an appearance.

It said: "Two Asian and one African elephant rolled into town today, the first time for over ten years that a European elephant act has been brought to a circus in the UK."

It added: "Sonja, Delhi and Vana Mana look very content as they slurp their daily ration of 200 litres of water. Despite their size these three lovely ladies are very gentle creatures.

"You can see how clever they are at every show when the Great British Circus comes to your town."

The RSPCA's Dr Rob Atkinson said: "This is a body blow for animal welfare in this country.

"I am sure this news will shock and sadden the public which has consistently shown its opposition to the use of wild animals in circuses.

"Asking these majestic animals to behave in unnatural ways in the name of entertainment is a disgrace - a disgrace which is already banned in several other European countries.

"This has to be a wake-up call for the Government which pledged to ban certain species in circuses almost three years ago.

"The argument that the practice will die out naturally has now been shown to be null and void."

He added: "After all, how are we benefited as a nation for permitting tigers to leap through hoops and bears to ride bicycles?"

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