Animal wranglers at the Orfei circus
Malta's last ever animal circus will take place at the Manoel Island sports ground from 13 December till the 5 January 2014, bringing to an end the circuses that have become ever more controversial in the last year.
The Viviana Orfei circus is being brought to Malta by businessman Silvio Zammit, whose last circus in Naxxar was refused an extended permit due to siting issues.
Zammit said the circus will include the usual acts of magic, trapeze artists, tight-rope walkers, acrobats, and a wide of array of animals including horses, hippos, ponies, ostriches, camels, zebras, llamas, and emus.
Malta will formally ban animal circus, after year of repeated protests by animal welfare groups at the gates of circuses. Earlier this year, a consultation process was launched on animal circus shows.
Zammit, who has brought circuses to Malta for the past 15 years, said that the Italian circus owners have respected their animals for generations, and that the animals were born in captivity.
The circus - whose entrance prices start at €5 and €10, will host two show at 5:30pm and 7:30pm, as well as a matinee at 3:30pm from Boxing Day onwards.
"It's the last opportunity for people to see an animal circus, which is why we are bringing to Malta one of the best European circuses. The animals are part of this family of circus artists, and are taken good care of much as we take good care of our own pets. We condemn animal cruelty in any way possible," Zammit said.