As pressure from Animal Defenders International (ADI), AnimaNaturalis, and other animal welfare organizations mounts in Spain, Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus has cancelled a visit to Valencia from its European tour. This follows cancellation of a tour of Germany planned for December and January.
Fronted by former Ringlings’ employee, Tom Rider, ADI has launched a Europe wide call for circus workers to blow the whistle on animal cruelty. Last month the huge American circus arrived in Italy for its first ever European tour and was greeted by Rider, ADI and Italy’s AgireOra. Shows were flooded with leaflets featuring Rider’s accounts of suffering inside the world’s biggest animal circus and the media screened shocking images from inside Ringlings.
Last week, Ringling Brothers Circus arrived in Seville to start the Spanish leg of its European tour, only to be greeted by a press conference hosted by ADI, the Seville Green Party, AnimaNaturalis and Tom Rider.
Tom Rider, who earlier this year appeared as the lead witness in the prosecution of Ringling Brothers Circus under the US Endangered Species Act said: “I saw the beatings of elephants, horses being punched, and tigers whipped and jabbed with sticks. I saw the elephants chained by the legs for around 22 hours a day and tigers living in small cages. It starts to eat you up inside what you are seeing happen to these animals. I would urge all circus workers to stop looking away when they see cruelty but speak up for the animals.”
A special video appeal from Rider to circus workers to blow the whistle on cruelty is online in English, Spanish and Italian (coming soon).
On the circus’ opening night in Seville, a demonstration was held in front of the Polideportivo de San Pablo by ADI, AnimaNaturalis, the Colectivo Andaluz contra el Maltrato Animal (CACMA) and other campaigners (Pictured).
Tim Phillips, ADI Campaigns Director said: “We are delighted that Ringlings Bros circus has cancelled its shows in Valencia having already dropped the dates proposed for Germany. Our investigations have repeatedly shown the violence and suffering endured by animals in the name of circus entertainment. We have a simple message for the public: Don’t go to circuses that feature animals. And for circus workers: Don’t look the other way, help stop the suffering.”
Jonathan Torralba, AnimaNaturalis Spain Director said: “We are thrilled with this news, we hope that after seeing the way this circus treats its animals the citizens will decide not to buy tickets for the next shows in the cities of Madrid and Zaragoza. It is worth noting that three different animal circuses will soon arrive in Valencia and we urge the people not to go to these shows either.”