Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Day Five- Lyn Fountain- Don't go to the Circus

When I was around seven years old, I remember the circus coming to Norwich. The entourage arrived by train, and paraded from the station, up through the city; the circus folk in their performance costumes - walking, unicycling, riding plumed horses; a string of elephants - joined trunk to tail as if drawing comfort from the contact – guided by men and women with sticks; and the big cats, some sitting, some pacing, behind the bars of their wagons, the outsides of which had once been painted with palms and jungle creepers to represent a jungle habitat, but now faded through weeks of British weather. And I remember my mother, crying at the plight of the animals.

I wonder when, in the evolution of man, it was first thought of to use animals as ‘entertainment’. Circuses are believed to have originated with the Romans, so have been with us for more than two thousand years. At first, exotic animals, including cats, were for display only, then trained to perform ‘tricks’. Ever since, countless animals, either bred in captivity or captured from the wild, have endured lives of imprisonment and degradation for people’s amusement. I hope if you’ve read this far, like me, you’re already deeply concerned about the commodification and exploitation of animals as entertainment and as a means of making profit. Politicians and lobby groups have been discussing this issue for years, and prior to the 2010 election a UK ban on animals in circuses seemed tantalising close. It remains to be seen if the new government finally takes action.

This is what the Born Free Foundation has to say on the use of animals in circuses:

“There are 4 circuses that tour Great Britain with a total of approximately 40 wild animals, which include an Asian elephant, tigers, lions, zebra, pythons and Bactrian camels.

“Circus animals are subjected to a routine of frequent and extended transport for many months of the year, with regular loading and unloading, training and performance, and housing in small, restricted enclosures. These factors are likely to be stressful to the animals and have significant negative impacts on their welfare. Such conditions would not be allowed even in zoos.

“Several countries, including Austria, Croatia, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Israel and
Singapore have banned the use of wild animals in circuses. The Czech Republic,
Denmark, Finland, Portugal, India and Sweden have banned the use of certain wild animals in circuses.

“Since 1925 animals in circuses were legislated under the Performing Animals
Act, which was predominantly concerned with licensing and public health issues.
The Animal Welfare Act in England and Wales, and the Animal Health and Welfare
(Scotland) Act, were an opportunity for the welfare of circus animals to be

“Despite Born Free’s diligent campaigning and submission of evidence, and
considerable public and Parliamentary concern, a ban on wild animals in circus
was not put directly into the Animal Welfare Act. Nevertheless, on 8th March
2006, the then Minister for Animal Welfare, Ben Bradshaw, announced his intention to ban the use in travelling circuses of “certain non-domesticated species” using regulations enabled by the Act. Similar intentions were indicated in Scotland and Wales. The Government established the Circus Working Group (of which Born Free was a member) to consult on regulations relating to the use of wild animals in circuses. Despite considerable submissions by Born Free and other animal welfare groups, the personal opinion of the Chairman of the Group, published in a report on 20th November 2007, was there is insufficient scientific evidence to support a ban on wild animals in circuses.

“The Born Free Foundation profoundly disagrees with this view, pointing out that
the Circus Working Group was:
- Advised before the process started that little objective scientific evidence was available.
- Prevented from considering training and performance as part of its remit, two aspects which, for many people, define the circus.
- Precluded from considering extensive footage of the life endured by wild animals in circuses (as gathered by Animal Defenders International and others) as this was deemed inadmissible.

“However, following the statement by the Animal Welfare Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick
(March 2010), perhaps indicates that the English Government has a change of heart, now considering a ban of the use of all wild animals in circuses in England.”

The weight of public feeling against performing animals has been increasing for years, and, in addition to lobbying, our refusal to give our custom to circuses and other ‘entertainments’ featuring animals may prove to be the greatest – financial - motivator for change.

Many circuses have already bowed to public opinion and no longer use animals, although they were exempted from the UK 1976 Dangerous Wild Animals Act, which made it illegal for people to keep certain exotic wild animals as captive pets without proper licensing. If big cats are surviving wild in this country, they are thought to be the offspring of cats privately owned and released prior to or after the passing of the Act. Personally, I would have thought that if someone had gone to the expense and trouble of importing and accommodating an exotic wild cat as a pet, then obtaining the correct licence would not necessarily have been a deterrent.
LINKS: The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) campaigning to end the use of all animals in circuses.

Tomorrow, big cat sightings in the UK.


  1. God ths picture says it all- (I found it when I was pasting Lyn's Blog and thought I would add it in)- this is a really important message everyone- this is the serious stuff.

    Thanks for bringing it to our attention Lyn.


  2. Brilliant post, Lyn.
    I remember the circus coming to town when I was a child and it was just as you described and so sad to see those poor elephants trudging along looking so miserable. THe conditions the animals were kept in was appalling - I've never forgotten.