01/08/15 Circus Ban in Zapresic
City of Zapresic
Zeljko Turk, mayor
Nova ulica 10
January 8, 2015
Dear Mr. Turk,
We are writing to you as the mayor of a city that is obviously blossoming and progressing, with many investments in terms of institutes of higher education and cultural institutions, as well as permanent modernization, which makes Zapresic one of the leading factor among the cities pursuing the course of growth and progress.
However, Westgate Shopping City Zapresic has decided to host the Safari Circus, announcing to "offer to its visitors a rich entertainment program (…) with more than thirty domestic animals..."
Therefore we would like to appeal to you as Zapresic's mayor, as well as the city of Zapresic itself, to join the thirty Croatian cities and towns that have banned this circus, including Split, Velika Gorica, Samobor, Varazdin, Ludbreg, Mursko Sredisce, Rovinj, Delnice, Gospic, Kraljevica, Cakovec, Prelog, Ploce, Pozega, Karlovac, Ozalj, Bjelovar, Klanjec, Zabok, Novi Marof, Nin, Varazdinske Toplice, Dugo Selo, Krizevci, Lepoglava, Vukovar, Novigrad, Sisak, Senj, Mali Losinj, and Dubrovnik – all of which obviously invest in their development and wish to be part of the latest trends.
Many countries all over the world have embraced the trend of banning circuses of this kind: these include world metropolises and countries such as Venice, Vienna, Barcelona, Greece, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the USA, Israel, Australia, and many others, which do not allow circuses with animal acts in their territories. Circuses with wild animals have also been banned in Austria, Belgium, Costa Rica and Singapore, while specific animal acts have been banned in India, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.
There are cities and towns in many countries that have banned circuses by the decision of their local administrations, or prohibited them from performing on the communal ground, which include those in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, France, and the UK.
Even though circus audiences may consider performances using domestic animals as more acceptable than those with the wild ones, it is clear that the domestic animals used for entertainment purposes suffer just as much as the wild ones, since they are forced to behave unnaturally, kept in inadequate conditions, imprisoned, forced to suffer long journeys and transportation, and last but not least, because the attitude of their trainers is far from "entertaining." Animals do not belong to parking lots and similar spaces, which are highly inadequate as their habitat. They are often deprived of food, not only because of the circumstances of their accommodation, but also in order to train them and force them to do their act.
Of course, mere positive stimulation and rewards will not force the animals to obey orders and perform complex acts that are typical of circus shows - day by day, hundreds of times per year. If an animal is unwilling to or incapable of performing the act at a particular moment, it is bound to suffer a whole series of punishments.
The revised text of the Animal Protection Act of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette NN 135/06, 37/13, 125/13), Art. 4, it. 11, explicitly prohibits the use of animals in circuses and other shows, film and TV shootings, advertisements, exhibitions, and competitions, if that forces them to behave unnaturally or causes them pain, suffering, wounds, or fear.
Complaints describing cruelty that the visitors of circuses have filled with PETA, the world-renown organization for animal rights and protection, include the following:
- doves are "kicked like footballs"
- horses are punched in the face and savagely whipped
- dogs are fed only when performing their acts as they are expected to, but below the fur they are mere skin and bones
- dogs, animals needing love, are kept in cages for prolonged periods of time when not performing
- dogs are being kicked
- cats, which were obviously reluctant to perform and scared, were forced to jump from high platforms onto small cushions
- the trainers pretended to stroke the dogs while performing, but were actually pinching them savagely.
Eventually, when they are no longer needed, the domestic animals, who suffered enduring humiliation and torture for all of their lives in the circus, are sent off to slaughterhouses or abandoned.
Animal Friends do not wish to ban all circuses, but to promote those that will entertain their visitors with their well studied acts, performed by humans who will fascinate the audience with their acrobatic skills.
The very name "circus" implies that it is about forcing animals to behave unnaturally. Animals do not belong to a circus, and as such circuses are a primitive form of amusement that should be completely banned for their cruelty towards animals.
We therefore call upon you to give a positive example and to show that animal abuse for the sake of entertainment and profit should become a shameful past. We are asking you to ban the aforementioned circus from your city, as well as any other that abuses animals in order to serve the so-called "entertainment industry", and to deny such applications in the future.
We are thanking you in advance for your time and efforts.
Anamarija Helena Milardovic