independent

Friday 18 January 2019

Charity calls for circus boycott

Anne Campbell

AN animal rights charity has called on Dundalk people not to go to Tom Duffy's Circus, which rolls into town this week, because they use sea lions in the show.

AN animal rights charity has called on Dundalk people not to go to Tom Duffy's Circus, which rolls into town this week, because they use sea lions in the show.

But Duffy's Circus MD and ringmaster, David Duffy, said the animals are very well treated and no evidence has every been found of creatures being abused.

The charity, ARAN, wants Dundalk people to avoid shows that have animals and support circuses that don't. They have also called for Dundalk Town Councillors to introduce a motion to ban animal-act circuses using public land like other towns.

ARAN's Moira de Claire said: 'These poor sea lions were never meant for a travelling circus, it's a sad day if people see nothing wrong with keeping animals in such conditions'.

She claimed the animals suffer due to 'constant travelling' and circuses cannot provide adequate facilities to keep the creatures physically or psychologically healthy. The concerns have also been raised by the ISPCA.

However, Mr. Duffy said the circus is 'totally dedicated to the welfare of the animals'. He said: 'There is a vast difference between animal welfare and animal rights.

'Every right-minded person believes in animal welfare, but for the ISPCA to support claims that our animals suffer is misleading the public and has offended our dedicated team of specialist animal carers.

'It is well known that sea lions respond well to captivity. Andrew, Ziggy and Nelson are treated extremely well, there is nothing they love more than interacting with humans – this is witnessed daily by our audiences. When the sea lions are not performing they have a large swimming pool to swim and play in.

'On (ISPCA) inspection visits to Tom Duffy's Circus, no evidence of animal mistreatment, abuse or suffering has ever been found.

'Our tour is scheduled to avoid long journeys for the animals - the average journey is under 40kms. We take great pride in our animals and the level of care we provide to them'.

Mr Duffy also commented on claims that the animals are forced to perform.

'Our animal trainers know each animal individually. They teach them only routines tailored to their natural abilities and individual preferences', he said.

Tom Duffy's Circus is now at Marshes Shopping Centre until Sunday.

The Argus

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