Monday, 27 June 2011

Circus Wild Animal Ban Must Become a Reality

I was very pleased to see a rare showing of unanimity this past week in Parliament in support for Conservative MP Mark Pritchard's non-binding motion to ban the use of wild animals in the circus here in the UK.

The fact that he stood up so resolutely against his own leader and party Whips under intense pressure to withdraw his motion is to his personal credit and it is lamentable of the Conservative Party and David Cameron that they attempted to silence Mr Pritchard in the manner of which he described at the start of his debate.

My Thailand Experience
I can't recall having ever visited a Circus but my thoughts on this matter come from an episode of my life when I was on holiday in Thailand back in 2008.

Are Elephants supposed to be great artists?
I was in Chiang Mai in the north of the country when we took up the option of visiting an elephant trekking centre and I was very excited at the prospect. The trekking itself through a forest was a real 'once-in-a-lifetime' experience and I felt comfortable with it. For in history, these animals have been well versed in carrying human kind and indeed were powerful weapons of force and strength in battles past under Alexander the Great and Hannibal.

What I found greatly disconcerting however was the use of elephants before hand, to perform 'acts'. I couldn't help but notice that their feet were chained into position so their movement was limited and what followed for me, was a crass attempt to attract visitors and their tourist baht (the local Thai currency).

The two photos you'll find in this blog post are those taken by me whilst we were there. I must admit that I was not enamoured by the sights of elephants drawing pictures with their trunks or playing a form of basketball.

Are Elephants supposed to be great sports stars?
Because I may be wrong here but somehow I don't think elephants were put on this Earth to play basketball or to paint (please note the sarcastic tone).

It all felt un-natural and I can remember feeling a great sense of unease at what I was watching and felt guilty for my wilfull visual participation in the event.

"barbaric" practise that has "no place in civilised society in the 21st Century".
Those were the words of Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester Bob Russell during the debate last week. I have to agree with his sentiment.

The RSPCA estimate that only a handful of circuses in England still keep wild animals which includes any non-domestic species, such as tigers, zebras and camels but that there are currently some 46 of these naturally wild animals currently being used in circus performance in the UK.

This is not their natural habitat. This is not what they were born to do.

I will leave the final word to Mr Pritchard who said in the debate that he orchestrated, that these performances are cruel and outdated and compared them to outlawed practices such as dog-fighting and badger-baiting.

It is simply for these reasons that I hope that the Government legislates fully on the clear will of Parliament on this issue and ensures that this form of 'entertainment' is disgarded to the history books which is the only place where it belongs.

1 comment:

  1. To the individual who anonymously left a rude comment to this blog post - I am not publishing it. Something I am loathe to do.

    This blog as stated in the description is for me to give my opinion on issues from all walks of life - on issues that interest me.

    For the first-hand reasons that I have explained above through my visit to Thailand, I have a particular reason to wish to comment on this story.

    I do not take lightly seeing the cloak of anonymity being used to make distastful comments and I am minded in future to change my settings so that only those wiling to leave their name and details alonside heir comments, the ability to do so.