For the past two weeks or so every time we have driven past the Santa Ponsa roundabout we’ve had to have a chat about the circus tent which had been set up there. The first conversation went something like this: ‘Mummy, what’s that over there?’ ‘It’s a circus tent sweetheart’. ‘A circus! Sophie is going to the circus! Can I go with her?’ ‘No sweetheart, you can’t.’ ‘Why mummy?’ ‘Because there are animals in the circus and it’s cruel to treat wild animals like that. Do you see that cage? That’s where the tigers live. They should be running around the jungle, they shouldn’t be in a cage’. Silence… La Gidg takes it on board. Next time we drove past ‘Look mummy, there’s the circus with all of the poor animals’. There were no more requests to go to the circus, and we cut a deal that she could go to see Pirates instead. (That was last weekend, she had a ball).
Today, first day back at school, and the circus has gone from the roundabout. La Gidg comes home from school clutching an ‘Admit one child free’ flier from the circus which has rolled down the road to Camp de Mar. This time there’s no concern about the poor animals, as her entire class are excited about going and there are plenty of tears when I remind her about the previous deal. How is it that a commercial business can flier my child’s school? Especially when this business is something I am so dead against? Regular transport, cramped and bare temporary housing, forced training and performance, loud noises and crowds of people are all typical and often unavoidable realities for these animals. I won’t support it. Scientific research has shown that travelling circus life is likely to have a very harmful effect on animal welfare for many species, and performing inappropriate tricks in the name of entertainment also does nothing to foster respect or understanding for animals.
I go to have a look at the internet, good old Google. Did you know that there are only two countries in the world who have banned animals in circuses? Guess which ones, Bolivia and China. Can you believe it, not exactly well known for their record in human rights. Not the UK, or perhaps Germany. 94.5 per cent of British people are opposed to the use of animals including tigers, elephants and kangaroos in circus performances. Apparently there is a ban on its way in the UK.
If you want to take your kids to the circus, then try Son Amar, or Pirates, or Cirque Bouffon who will be performing on Parc de la Mar May 11th until June 5th. In the meantime, negotiations will commence again with La Gidg. There are other ways to enjoy yourself, and definately other ways to learn about animals.
(first published Euro Weekly Newspaper 5th May 2011)