Cuts to animal circus funding welcomed in Limerick

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by Alan Jacques

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Courtney-Brothers-Circus-June-2013-7LIMERICK animal rights campaigners have welcomed the decision by the Arts Council to impose further cuts in its annual grants to animal circuses.

This year’s allocation to animal circuses has been reduced from €35,000 to €20,000 and the Limerick-based Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) has called on the Arts Council to “continue with this progressive stance and sever ties completely with circuses that exploit animals and compromise welfare”.

“With councils all over Ireland passing motions to ban or restrict animal-act circuses using public land, the Arts Council should completely cut any further funding to a business model that is geared around animal suffering and exploitation, not art,” said ARAN founder John Carmody.

ARAN and Animal Defenders International (ADI) are also calling on the Arts Council to withdraw its support for the only circus it now funds, Duffy’s, which tours with an act featuring sea lions.

The Arts Council of Ireland, funded principally by the Irish Exchequer and National Lottery, has given nearly €750,000 to animal circuses over the last six years, with Duffy’s Circus receiving more than €330,000.

“Given the inherent suffering that animals in circuses endure and the declining popularity of these acts, we have been urging The Arts Council to end its funding of animal circuses, and instead support talented artists who have a choice in whether they perform,” Mr Carmody said.