IAR protests against animals in circuses
International Animal Rescue has joined a coalition of 14 groups in Malta protesting against the use of animals in circuses. Following a campaign led by the coalition, Malta was a circus-free country for five years. But last year a new local company decided to bring the circus to Malta once again. In response, the animal welfare coalition organised a campaign which included an awareness exhibition just outside the main entrance to Valletta, the capital city, talks in schools and also appeals to the Department of Education not to let teachers arrange visits to the circus. A number of local businesses supporting the circus were boycotted.
On the first day that the circus opened its doors to the public, the animal welfare coalition braved biting cold and rain and organised a demonstration in front of the main gates of the circus tents. Protestors carried placards against the cruelty involved in animals performing in circuses and blew whistles for more than two hours. The circus retaliated by playing loud music to drown them out.
During the last two days before the circus opened to the public 1500 children from two schools signed a petition against the circus and more signatures are still being collected. A number of schools in Gozo that already had the tickets ordered for the show cancelled their bookings following a circular from the Department of Education stating that during the Christmas festivities children are to attend only educational activities and outings. The circus acts use pelicans, snakes, penguins, crocodiles, and piranhas.
During a radio programme Max Farrugia from International Animal Rescue in Malta challenged Mr. Silvio Zammit, the person responsible for bringing the circus to Malta, to spend just a short period travelling like the circus animals in a dark restricted container, instead of staying in hotels when he goes abroad.
The coalition will continue with its campaign by distributing anti-circus leaflets during the entire period while the circus is on.