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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Malta coalition protests against the circus coming to town

Animals like these tigers do no belong in the circusA federation of 20 NGOs has launched a campaign in Malta against animal cruelty in circuses. This follows the announcement by a local company which brings circuses to Malta that animals will feature in a circus performing in Malta and Gozo during most of December.

On Sunday 28 December members of the Circus Animal Rights Coalition, of which IAR is a member, distributed literature to passers-by at City Gate Valletta and announced that they would be holding a protest march on 8 December.

The coalition has expressed great disappointment that a local company has yet again decided to bring a circus with animals to Malta. In the past it has called on the authorities not to allow circus animals in Malta and backed a decision by the Education Department not to organise school visits to the circus. They hoped this decision would be followed by Church and private schools too. Last year the Education Department issued a circular to all heads of schools informing them that no visits were to be organisd to the circus or the dolphinarium, particularly during the Christmas Holidays.

The coalition urged local councils, companies and other organisations to think carefully before organising visits to such circuses. Its message was that animals have the right to live in their natural habitat and should not spend a lifetime in confinement purely for people's entertainment.

The march will take place on 8 December, a public holiday in Malta, and will start at 5pm from City Gate in Valletta and end in Floriana, the site of the circus. The symbolic walk will be a silent march so that the animals will not be disturbed while they are resting.

While the leaflets were being handed out on Sunday, a person dressed up as a tiger sat in a small cage to show the suffering of circus animals which are kept in confinement both while being transported and during the many hours when they are not performing.

Among the main NGOs in the coalition are Moviment Graffitti, International Animal Rescue Malta, Nature Trust and most of the key animal rights groups.

The animals being brought to Malta include bears, lions, tigers, hippos, a Scottish bull, pigs, horses, ponies, goats, a llama and a camel, as well as parrots and pelicans.

The circus will also feature trapeze artistes, gymnasts and magicians.