IAR Malta joins protest against animals in circuses
Nearly 200 animal lovers protested against a circus using performing animals in the village of Floriana in Malta. Earlier in the year the animal welfare coalition had held talks with the Council to try and persuade them not to give permission to the circus to come to the site but the appeal failed. The protest walk from the capital city of Valletta to Floriana was a noisy one but no incidents were reported. About 12 police officers accompanied the demonstrators.
The protestors chanted a message against animal cruelty and carried a number of posters about the torture and suffering inflicted on circus animals. They were backed by drums, whistles and other instruments. On arrival at the circus site, an additional police force joined the protestors who were instructed to walk behind and stay behind special barricades.
The purpose of the demonstration was to raise awareness among visitors to the circus that the spectacle they were about to witness was based on animal cruelty. Among those protesting were a well-known Maltese footballer, a TV presenter and a singer, all of whom are known to be avid animal lovers.
The general feeling of those present was that, although the circus organisers claimed the animals are treated well in the circus, the stark reality is that these animals live in captivity and have been made to undergo harsh training to suppress their natural instincts and obey their handlers.
The coalition of animal welfare groups of which International Animal Rescue is a member is urging the Malta Government to hold to its commitment to uphold animal welfare and so ban circuses with animals. As in previous years schools were prohibited from including the circus and other places where wild animals are forced to perform for public entertainment, such as the dolphinarium and falcon centre, among their pupils’ Christmas cultural activities.