Alliance Councillors Neil Kelly and Alan Lawther have voiced their opposition to the use of wild animals in travelling circuses with the return to Antrim of Duffy’s Circus. They have refused to accept complimentary ticket that the circus has given to each of the five political parties on Antrim Council. England is proposing a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses there.
Councillor Neil Kelly said: “It angers me that this Circus continues to tour the country with wild animals being carted hundreds of miles on the back of trucks. There are wild animals such as Bengal Tigers that are being kept locked up in confined spaces for most of the year.
“The public need to really consider this before they attend as there are real ethical and moral issues. There are other Circus’s who are touring without wild animals and doing it very well.”
Cllr Alan Lawther said: “Duffy’s left free VIP tickets at the Civic Centre for each of the five Parties represented on Antrim Borough Council, this somewhat surprised me as the Council did not distribute any tickets last year. I am not sure what the other Parties did but I can assure you the Alliance Party tickets went straight into the bin. We as a Council do not support this Circus in any way, either financially or by allowing them on Council land. It seems to me that by handing out VIP tickets to Councillors hoping they attend, Duffy’s are seeking some sort of endorsement or validation, well they will have nothing other than opposition from the Alliance Party as long as they continue to move these wild animals across the country.
“The Alliance Party has a proven track record in calling for a ban in the use of these wild animals by these travelling circuses as we do not believe that their needs can be properly met by constantly being taken on the road. Naomi Long MP has recently written a response to a Westminster consultation paper on a proposed ban for these type of circuses and has written to the Northern Ireland Minister Michele O’Neill calling on her to follow England’s lead. I would urge the people of Antrim to boycott this Circus and contact their MP’s and MLA’s to put pressure on central and local government to put a stop to wild animals being transported across great distances by circuses.”