Animal welfare campaigner John Carmody is uncorking the champagne today as he celebrates news that Ireland will no longer allow wild animals such as elephants, camels, tigers and zebras in Irish circuses from next January.
The outspoken and often controversial Limerick man began highlighting the suffering of animals in Irish circuses back in 1995 and then took action such as organising local protests, walking Nellie the ‘elephant’ through the streets of Limerick City and County, urging people to boycott the circus, presented school talks, distributed thousands of leaflets, enlisted the support of celebrities such as Pamela Anderson and Louie Walsh, unveiled poster and billboard campaigns and promoted the findings of investigations along with lobbying politicians at Dail Eireann.
Despite his best efforts, most Limerick City and County Councillors dragged their feet at a time when local authorities around the country were passing motions to ban animal circuses using public land. He hopes that lessons can be learned about the importance of supporting animal protection legislation and why measures such as the wild animal circus ban are not before their time.
“I spent my life fighting for those weaker than me way back when I was just a young kid and funnily enough I knew this was one campaign that would become a reality in my lifetime,” he explained.
“I can’t thank the thousands of people and other groups for helping to make this a truly momentous victory and a reality. The suffering and misery of animals in circuses is never fun so I hope people will only support circuses that use no animals.”
This is not Carmody’s first impressive victory – the Limerick man oversaw efforts to pass the Animal Health and Welfare Act – the first since 1911, The Dog Breeding Establishments Act, The Ward Union Hunt ban, Ireland supporting the EU Canadian seal products trade ban and many more animal welfare initiatives.