Letter to the editor in Gulf Daily News in Bahrain:
Circus animals face a life sentence!
Posted on Saturday, January 11, 2014
The BSPCA is disappointed to read that the authorities have allowed a circus to perform in Bahrain only two and a half years since the last visiting circus left five mature lions and tigers and a lion cub without proper care, exercise or vet attention for more than two months.
The government, after weeks of discussions with the Culture Ministry, eventually allowed the BSPCA to intervene. However, it was too late. The BSPCA arranged for a big cat veterinary specialist from the Born Free Foundation in the UK to be flown out but the cub died of kidney failure due to dehydration and starvation before the specialist could arrive.
The BSPCA deplores this type of outdated entertainment which sentences animals to a life of cruel imprisonment and mistreatment. They are confined in small cages and prodded to perform tricks completely unnatural to the animal’s normal behaviour.
Short of a complete ban on such “entertainment”, the society urgently requests that the Culture Ministry, which issues permits for such visiting acts, ensures the animals are provided with adequate space and regular vet checks to prevent such a sad situation from occurring again. The ministry should also ensure that the owners have made suitable provision for the immediate departure of their big cats when the circus leaves Bahrain. The ministry had promised the society that the circus would not return to Bahrain unless it had booked return transportation for its animals.
The society’s executive committee urgently requests the Culture Ministry to reassess the way in which they bring this type of entertainment to Bahrain. Modern circus do not have animals performing tricks. It is recognised that caging wild animals and treating them cruelly to provide shallow entertainment is unacceptable in a civilised world. The modern circus provides excellent family entertainment with jugglers, clowns, trapeze artists performing for the public in an exciting and colourful Big Top atmosphere. But there is no room in this modern day for activity that involves extreme cruelty to any animal by confining it to a cage to be taunted, humiliated and cruelly taught tricks for the sake of “entertainment”. BSPCA
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January 2014: Although at present there are no circuses with wild animals in Scotland the public have until April to submit their views on a potential ban aimed at protecting the welfare of wild animals.The Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:“I think it’s important to make it clear that there are no travelling circuses with wild animals presently based in Scotland. This particular issue is one which is attracting concern elsewhere and is being considered in other areas of the UK. It is therefore prudent that we also consider the implications for Scotland. “The health and wellbeing of these animals is clearly something which is close to many people’s hearts and is one of the main reasons why we are seeking views in this consultation. The following ethical considerations are explored in this consultation; respect for wild animals, the travelling environment and the ethical cost versus any potential benefit: here.