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Controversial elephant circus headed for Granard

Story by Linda O'Reilly

Tuesday, 8th March, 2016 6:13pm

Controversial elephant circus headed for Granard

Protestors at the Virginia Showgrounds where the circus was camped last weekend. PHOTO: Andy Wilson Photography.

A controversial elephant circus is due to roll into Granard in the coming days for shows Friday-Sunday. 'Circus Belly Wien’, which is banned in its native Austria as a result of the use of wild animals, has attracted controversy on its Irish tour with further protests planned at the Granard Mart venue.
A group of up to 60 people staged a peaceful protest at the showgrounds in Virginia last weekend where the circus was camped and it’s understood that the Sunday evening show was cancelled at short notice.
The management committee behind the Virginia Showgrounds venue sent the following statement to this newspaper: “For the last 30 years, we have accommodated groups including circuses, which are always family events, without any issue. When it came to our attention that some people had concern with animals being used in circuses, we immediately spoke with management and inspected the animal living conditions.
“We are satisfied that this circus was very professional and offered every care possible to the welfare of their animals. We fully support the position of Veterinary Ireland and encourage mandatory inspections by qualified vets.” Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) is encouraging members of the public to boycott the Granard shows; while a spokesperson for the circus has insisted that the animals are treated very well. “Animals are treated respectfully and their shelters are nice and clean,” he said. ARAN is calling on politicians in Ireland to ban animal-act circuses on public land. A motion to that effect is set to come before the April meeting of Cavan County Council.
A spokesman from the group said that the protests are “undoubtedly” causing people to turn away from the circus and he also pointed to the cancellation of shows in Monaghan last month. “They won’t have any peace once they are in Ireland,” he said.
Local ARAN supporter Laura Boyle said: “Because of country bans on using wild animals in circus performances in Austria and Holland, this circus is now using Ireland as a dumping ground for their acts that involve worn out and broken elephants amongst so many other animals.”
She added: “Nature never intended for these animals to live such a pitiful existence and to that end I respectfully urge my fellow locals to please take their kids, or indeed themselves, elsewhere.”

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