Three wild animals died in English circuses in last year

Tiger Duffy's Circus 2012

Neeka was part of this 2012 show at Duffy’s Circus in Ireland. Ten weeks after arriving in England, she was dead

On the 8th August 2013, a group of big cats arrived at Jolly’s Circus in England, having performed previously in Duffy’s Circus in Ireland. Ten weeks later and one of the tigers was dead.

In the first 12 months since the introduction of licensing for the use wild animals in circuses in England, a total of three of the animals previously used by Peter Jolly’s Circus and Circus Mondao died. A tiger called Neeka and a zebra called Sinbad were euthanised by vets at Jolly’s and Mondao respectively and a python died at Jolly’s circus in unknown circumstances. It appears that no post mortem was carried out on the snake and inspectors noted that the animal had died when the circus was inspected in October last year.

The tiger, Neeka, was euthanised following the diagnoses of carcinoma (cancer) just over ten weeks after she was moved to Jolly’s circus from the show in Ireland. This is despite a Government inspector stating that the tigers appeared to be in “excellent condition” and that none “had signs of illness” when they arrived at the circus on the 8th August 2013.

No further information on the death of the python, which occurred between the circus’ June and October inspections, is available in the public domain.

Sinbad the zebra was euthanised at Circus Mondao on the 29th October 2013 after a bout of colic.

Said Liz Tyson, Director of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society:

“That these majestic wild animals lived for the sole purpose of performing pointless tricks in the circus ring is a disgrace. Due to the lack of transparency in the circus industry, we cannot know if Neeka the tiger, who was deemed by a Government vet to be in excellent condition just ten weeks before her death, could have been saved. The reason for the python’s death at the same circus remains a mystery. Regardless of how or why Neeka, Sinbad the zebra or the python died, the end of the cruel use of wild animals in circuses cannot come soon enough. We look forward to seeing the promised ban introduced next year”.

Further notes from the June inspection of Jolly’s raised concerns that the camel and the ankole used by the circus were kept in a holding tent prior to performance for up to four and a half hours without access to water. Staff were reported to have said that the animals knocked buckets of water over and so water was offered at intervals. Inspectors told staff that water should be available continuously.

Inspectors of circus Mondao confirmed in November that the lead vet for the circus had not visited a tour site since the licence was granted in March 2013. This was put down to “confusion” on the part of the circus, despite the requirement for a lead vet to visit the circus on tour being an explicit requirement of licensing guidelines. The inspector chose to take no action against the circus for this apparent breach.

We are so close to a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses in England but there is still work to be done. We couldn’t have come this far without your support. If you are not already, please become a member of CAPS today to ensure that our vital work for animals still suffering in captivity can continue.

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