Walsh calls for ban on wild animals in circuses
Louis Walsh has called on the newly appointed Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to implement an immediate ban on the use of wild animals in circuses in Ireland.
In a letter on behalf of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and ARAN (Animal Rights Action Network), Mr Walsh, who recently announced his return to X Factor, writes: "My career has given me a deep appreciation for the determination and talents of human performers. They do what they do because they love to entertain, and the joy it gives them is apparent the minute they come on stage. That is not true for animals who are used in circuses.
"They don't stand on their heads, ride bicycles or perform other demeaning, often painful tricks willingly. They do so because if they don't, they will be whipped, beaten with a steel-tipped bullhook or shocked with an electric prod.
"It is vital that Ireland remain in step with other European countries by banning circuses that use wild animals - otherwise, it's like putting out a welcome mat for animal abusers."
Support for such a move is growing internationally after a number of countries, including Austria, Belgium, Croatia and the Netherlands, have introduced the ban.
While most Irish-based circuses have scaled back their use of animals in recent years, many circuses traveling from abroad continue to use wild animals such as elephants.
This comes after protests objecting to the use of live elephants at a circus in Dublin earlier this year led to violent altercations, resulting in six arrests.