Arts Council, circuses and wild animals

 

Sir, – While the Arts Council is cutting funding to the O’Brien Press (December 29th), it may come as a surprise to many that it continues to fund travelling circuses that exploit wild animals for human entertainment, an activity which is ethically dubious and has absolutely no artistic merit.

The ISPCA believes that the council has breached its own animal welfare policy as travelling circuses cannot provide a suitable environment for wild animals, such as tigers and lions, which spend up to 90 per cent of their time in small beast-wagons and are subjected to constant movement and noise which are well-known stressors for wild animals.

In a time of austerity, it is outrageous that the Irish taxpayer is subsidising wild animal circuses at the same time as many countries are banning them on animal welfare or ethical grounds.

The ISPCA will continue to call for a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and calls on the Arts Council to stop funding an activity which should be consigned to the history books. – Yours, etc,

Dr ANDREW KELLY,

Chief Executive Officer,

ISPCA,

National Animal Centre,

Derryglogher Lodge,

Keenagh, Co Longford.