Petition supporting animal circuses gains 5,000 signatures

Circus promoter says 2013 could be last year for animal circuses in Malta due to the proposed ban.

Circus promoter Silvio Zammit has collected 5,000 signatures as part of a petition to overturn a proposal to ban animal circuses.

The circus has now moved to Ghajnsielem, Gozo, where Zammit hopes to continue collecting more signatures. The petition will then be passed on to the competent authorities.

Zammit, who has been bringing circuses to Malta for the past 16 years, said he could not allow the banning of animal circuses from Malta without taking any action.

"It was a personal initiative after finding out that the government had moved on to publish a White Paper proposing to ban animal circuses," he said.

He argued that only 390 persons took part in the consultation process initiated by the government, of which 49% said they were against such a circus.

"We know that the majority of these were NGOs, and NGOs do not reflect popular opinion. I am doing this petition on my own. I know that there are many others who would like to sign it, but I have neither the time nor the manpower to go on a nation-wide petition," Zammit said.

He said he was "very happy" with the number of signatures collected: "This shows that the Maltese do love the circus. They won't flood the streets of Valletta with placards to support the circus."

He also said that a number of MPs from both sides of the House visited Circo Orfei this winter. "Some came with their children while others accompanied their grandchildren. They thanked me for the level of the show and all said they had fun," Zammit said.

He however refused to name them.

The debate as to whether Malta should ban animal circuses for good has been going on for a number of years, with animal rights NGOs insisting that circuses solely operate to maximise profits while completely disregarding the safety of the animals and the adverse effects they may impose.

Animal Rights Coalition said veterinarians only attend to the animal's physical needs and as a result, the psychological issues brought about by the circuses are not being addressed.

With a number of countries moving to ban animal circuses for good, Zammit said in Italy alone there were 800 circuses. He said the UK was one of the countries which will stop animal circuses as from next year. "But this was the result of many circuses caught mistreating their animals," he said, adding that the circus he brought to Malta did not see animals performing any tricks and only a minimal part of the show was dedicated to animals.

Zammit argued that the circus animals were born in captivity "and therefore they do not know otherwise. Their trainers threat them like their pets".

He said Animal Welfare Department officials and veterinarians made regular checks to verify that the animals were well kept.

Circo Orfei's travelling team is made up of 60 people, whose living depends on the shows, Zammit said.

"This is their life. They are a community who live on the road and have been doing so for years on end. This is how they earn a living... their bread and butter," he said.

The Animal Rights Coalition has also called for a full ban on dolphinaria and acquaria. The coalition has said it was unjust to deny dolphins the right to roam free in their natural habitat and called for the ban on dolphinariums as these restrict the creatures to a mere pool.

The Coalition also said that this should extend to acquaria as in this case, animals are likewise being "confined to cages and restricted from roaming in their natural habitat".

But Zammit feels that two weights and two measures were being applied when talking about animal circuses and acquarias.

He also said that circuses gave people the opportunity to see animals which would otherwise require them to travel abroad to zoos or safaris.

He insisted that a proper discussion was required and said he agreed that animals like elephants, pandas and monkeys should be banned. "What we have in our circus are horses, ponies, donkeys and tigers," he said, adding that tigers in captivity lived for an average of 25 years while those in the wild lived for 12 years.

Circo Orfei also has a hippo and an emu as part of their travelling repertoire. 

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In answer to Spectre where is the argument to back up your claims. And I mean scientific real evidence, not the usual animal rights rhetoric.Do not make sweeping big lie statements without backing them up.
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wHILE i CONGRATULATE THIS DIRECTOR ON HIS HARD WORK PROVING LIKE IN ALL COUNTRIES THAT DESPITE THE FUNDAMENTALIST EXTREMISM OF THE ANIMAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT JUMPING ON THE IDEA OF A BAN OF CIRCUS AND AQUARIA, i AM DISAPPOINTED THAT THE GENTLEMAN FEELS FIT TO POINT OUT THAT bRITISH CIRCUS HAS HAD TWO COURT CASES.i AM NOT GOING TO BEAT ABOUT THE BUSH HERE, THE ANIMAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT DO NOT WANT JUST A BAN ON CIRCUSES THY WANT ANIMAL APARTHEID FOR EVERYONE,THE AGENDA INCLUDING THE EVENTUAL BANNING OF FARMING PETS AND ZOOS. cIRCUSES AND ZOOS ARE THE CATALYST FOR GETTING THEIR WAY AS EXTREMIST FANATICS WHO MISGUIDEDLY BELEIVE THAT CENTURIES OF INTERACTION WITH OUR FELLOW CRETURES ON ALL LEVELS IS ABHORENT. tHE CASES IN eNGLAND WERE FORCED THROUGH TH COURTS AND THE JUDGE DURING THE LATEST ONE EVEN QUESTIONED THE MOTIVES OF THE LEADER OF THE CONTRAVERSIAL adi (ANIMAL EFENCE INTERNATIONAL) jAN cRAMER ON THEIR MOTIVES AND ALERIOR AGENDA. cIRCUSES IN THE VAST MAJORITY OF COUNTRIES ARE EXELLENT AT ANIMAL HUSBANDARY. tHE CLASSICAL CIRCUS ASSOCIATION FOLLOW STRICT REGULATIONS. tHE PROBLEM WITH THEE SURVEYS IS THE CIRCUS LOVING PUBLIC DO NOT EVEN KNOW SUCH ACTS ARE BEING PUSHED THROUGH pARLIAMENT AND THE ANIMAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT THEN CAN JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON, THREE HUNDRED ODD SIGN A PETITION WITHOUT THE PUBLICS PROPER CONSULTATION AND THEY COME YET ANOTHER STEP CLOSER IN CONTROLLING US ALL AND BANNING YET ANOTHER CENTURIES OLD TRADITION . iF THEY HAVE THEIR WAY THERE WILL BE NO HORSE EVENTS OF ANY SORT, NO PETS NO ZOOS . tHIS IS OF GREAT CONCERN CONSIDERING THE REALITY THAT CIRCUS ANIMALS ARE EXTREMELY WELL CARED FOR. tHE WILD IS NOW ANIMAL BELSN WHERE MANY CREATURES ARE ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION. aBOVE AND BEYOND THIS, HAS NO ONE ELSE PICKED UP ON THE RIDICULOUS CLAIM HAT VETS CAN ONLY CHECK THE ANIMALS PHYSICAL HELTH AND NOT THEIR PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH. iF ANIMAL IN CIRCUSES AND INDEED AQUARIA WERE SUFFERING PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS THEN WOULD NOT THE REGULAR AND ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL BLOOD PRESSURE TSTS THAT VETS ALWAYS, BUT ALWAYS TAKE FROM ALL CIRCUS AND ZOO SPECIES SHOW EXTREMELY HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. iN FACT i RECOMMEND READERS LOOK AT WWW.CIRCUSTHETRUTH .COM AND WATCH mARTIN lACEY jNRS SUPERB PROOF THAT CIRCUS ANIMALS HAVE NO ILL EFFECTS PSYCHOLOGICAL OR OTHERWISE REAGRDING ONE OF THE "MAIN CONCERNS" OF T ANIMAL RIGHT MOVEMENT, THAT OF TRAVELLING. tHE LIONS IN THE VIDEO TRAVEL FROMmONT cARLO TO rOME WITH NO ILL EFFECTS, AND THE BLOOD PRESSURE TESTS BEFORE AND AFTEWARDS ACTUALLY SHOW A REDUCTION, YES A REDUCTION IN BLOOD PRESSURE LEVELS, A FACT THAT THE ANIMAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WITH THEIR HIDDEN AGENDA WOULD NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW. iTMAKES THE CLAIMS OF THE ANIMAL RIGHTS OGANIZATIONS LAUGHABLE TO SAY THE LAST. tHE bIG LIE IS NOW BEING CHALLENGED BY THE BIG TRUTH, ANIMALS BELONGNG TO CIRCUSES, AND THAT INCLUDES ELEPHANTS AND MONKEYS, ARE NOT SUFFERING, IN FACT JUST THE OPPOSITE.
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Well done to Silvio Zammit in collecting 5000 signatures in SUPPORT of traditional animal circuses continuing to be allowed to appear in Malta. 390 people took part in the Maltese Government consultation! That speaks volumes to me. Maltese people want to see animals in the circus. Here in the UK, the Government has implemented strict animal regulations for circuses with wild animals and may ban wild animals by December 2015! I will correct the comment regarding animal cruelty in English circuses. There has been two court cases in over a twenty year period! Not a good record but hardly a bad record. I support animals in the circus and I love animals. If the Maltese Government is unsure what to do, consult the Classical Circus Association here in the UK and they will be able to help you. Implement strict regulations that all circuses visiting Malta would have to comply too! www.classicalcircusassociation.org.uk
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There's no room for using wild animals so people can have an hour or two's "entertainment". It's cruel.