Courtney Bros Circus 10.7.12 4 For Report

Elephants used in Irish circus in 2012

Since 2006, CAPS has worked alongside grassroots activists and campaign partners from other animal protection organisations in Ireland* to see an end to the use of animals in circuses. Carrying out two in-depth investigations, in 2006 and 2012 respectively, our work on this issue remains the most detailed assessment of the animal circus industry in Ireland to date.

Campaigning to see an end to the use of all animals in circuses, we are committed to continue campaigning until all Irish circuses are free of animal suffering.

Key campaign developments

October 2013: Massive drop in Arts Council funding for animal circuses. [READ MORE]

July 2013: Irish Ministers appoint team to consider wild animals in circuses [READ MORE]

September 2012: Ring of Cruelty II released. [READ MORE]

April 2012: Circus visitor crushed by elephant. [READ MORE]

March 2012: Elephant escapes from circus. [READ MORE]

January 2012: Elephants return to Irish circus. [READ MORE]

January 2011: Circuses banned from Education Board land in Northern Ireland. [READ MORE]

September 2010: Circus boss drugs dogs. [READ MORE]

January 2009: Northern Ireland Assembly members call for a ban on wild animals in circuses [READ MORE]

November 2008: Circus held to account by Advertising Standards Authority for false claims. [READ MORE]

March 2007: Campaigners protest the use of public funds for animal circuses. [READ MORE]

2006: Ring of Cruelty I released, highlighting animal welfare and public safety concerns. [READ MORE]

Next Steps

Ministers from Belfast and Dublin have committed to considering action on the use of wild animals in Irish circuses. We will monitor these developments and offer support and expertise throughout any policy development process with a view to securing a ban.

We will continue to work closely with grassroots groups in Ireland to support peaceful demonstrations and continued public pressure on the Arts Council Ireland in support of an end to the use of public funds for animal circuses.

Watch and share video “Ring of Cruelty” (2006)

Read and share the investigation reports


Get Involved!

Please support our work for animals still suffering in circuses by taking one or more of the following actions:

Vote with your feet

One of the easiest ways that you can support our work is by pledging not to visit circuses which use animals.

Currently, the following circuses touring the UK use animals in their shows:

Tom Duffy’s Circus
Courtney Brothers/Royal Russian Circus
Circus Gerbola
Fossett’s Circus

As shows change annually, there may be other circuses currently using animals. Please always call ahead before attending a show to make sure the circus you want to visit is animal-free. If you have animal welfare concerns about a specific circus, please click HERE to download and complete the attached form and send it to us.

Organise a demonstration

IMG_4034Every year there are dozens of peaceful demos held outside circuses across the Ireland. These are organised and attended by our supporters and members of grassroots groups such as NARA and AFAR. They are a great way to raise awareness and keep the pressure on! The circuses travel all over Northern Ireland and the Republic, so it’s likely there will be demos near you at some point. Get in touch if you’d like us to let you know about any local demos.

Some areas of the country simply don’t have enough local campaigners to organise circus demos. Could you organise enough people to hold a demo? If so, please get in touch. We’re always looking for new local groups to join our circus campaign. If you’ve never organised a demo before, don’t worry. We can offer you all the advice and support you’ll need, as well as materials to use on the day. We can also promote your actions to our network to rally support!

READ MORE information on how to organise a successful demo.

Hold an information stall

If there are no circuses in your area at the moment, why not organise a town centre info stall instead? All you’ll need is a table, some helpers, and a smile; we’ll provide the rest. Simply get in touch to order materials and let us know when your stall is, and we’ll make sure you have everything you need. If you’ve never organised a stall before and would like some advice, get in touch in the first instance.


You can raise awareness and help captive animals without even leaving the comfort of your home or office. Many people now get their news from social networking sites. All you need to do is make sure you click the icons at the bottom of the screen to follow CAPS on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and share our stories, news and videos with your friends.

Letter writing

Is an animal circus coming to your town? Would you like to do something about it?

One of the most effective ways to campaign is to work with local landowners and councils to effect change.

Please click here to find out more about the value of letter writing and to download handy letter templates.

Contacting local newspapers

Writing a letter to your local newspaper is a great way of raising support for CAPS. Click here for advice and letter templates. If your letter gets printed, please buy an extra copy of the paper (or find a link to the online version) and send it to us so we can see!

Donate to our work

We rely on the generosity of people like to ensure that our work for animals can continue. Please consider donating to our work to bring an end to animal circuses in the Ireland.

* If you live in Northern Ireland, please check our Animal Circuses (UK) page for more information on animal circuses. Work in Northern Ireland crosses over the Irish and UK campaigns.

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