Circus holds animals on farm for protection

 

Duffy's Circus, which is touring in the midwest and south, has grounded all animals on its farm while the foot-and-mouth scare persists.

Mr Bill Johnson, the troupe's advance manager, said traditional circus animals at risk from the disease included llamas, goats, camels and elephants.

The circus has been in Ennis, Co Clare, for more than a week and will resume its shows today following three days of cancellations. Shows in Tipperary and Mallow have been postponed.

Mr Johnson said the Department of Agriculture had advised that animals be removed from performances before confirmation of the Armagh outbreak of the disease.

Along with the llamas, stallions, ponies, donkeys and dogs have been removed to the circus farm, which is in the south.

"We have no control over what those animals could come in contact with. A horse can get out, a pony can get out," Mr Johnson said.

But he was not concerned about the numbers of people attending the circus - about 800 at peak times. "It is nothing compared to a service station with a deli counter or the shopping centre in Blanchardstown," he claimed.

Disinfectant mats had been placed at the showground entrances and at the entry points to the Big Top.

The circus now centres around human acts, including the traditional acrobats and clowns along with limbo dancers.