I've written in the past about Deanimals of Murcia, the lawyers who take on prosecution cases of animal welfare and run training courses for lawyers, police, judges, veterinarians and anyone else involved with animals, training them to carry on in all corners of Spain the work Deanimals pioneered. Founding lawyer Raquel tells me she now has many lawyers doing similar work around Spain and the Canary Islands.
This story is about an aspect of their work...it's not about podencos or galgos, it's about circus animals. I have always abhorred the use of animals in circus, especially 'wild animals'...travelling all over the place, in cramped conditions, being forced to perform unnatural acts.
There was outrage in Paris recently when a rare white tiger from a circus was shot dead after escaping from its prison. my research shows that in October 2015 France had no ban on wild animals in travelling circuses, of which there are many in France. Further research now states there are 65 communes in France which ban wild animals in circuses. Sadly the one in which I live in 79, and surrounding communes, does not.
I publish below a translation of this report from the Deanimals blog of September 2017 where the team helped with the removal of wild animals from the Wonderland circus to live out their days in a protected wildlife park.
Deanimals and relocating the Wonderland animals
Raquel reports. 'On September 21, 2017, the Wonderland circus made history, voluntarily giving all its animals (7 tigers and a lion) to the Primadomus Sanctuary (located in Villena- Alicante) and committing to no more shows with animals.
In 2015 the Wonderland circus seriously considered stopping acting with their animals, but had no place to take them and give them up and at that time, we began to work together to find a suitable destination for their animals.
Because they would be in Spain and the circus family could visit them.
Because they would all be together and not divided into several sanctuaries.
For the magnificent facilities of Primadomus, which includes even pools for animals.
For the professional qualification in animal welfare of the staff of Primadomus, and especially, for the great work of Pablo Delgado, head of the welfare and care of the big cats.
In this case, I've had a pleasant surprise, as I have to confess, that I studied the option to denounce this circus, on the situation of the lame tigress, (from birth and who never worked in show) as we received many complaints to the office on this matter, because many people thought that it was like this because it had been mistreated. However, the reality was very different, this circus, cared for and fed ZOPPA (tigress), who was born lame and who could never be used to work, and who today is 5 years old. Not only did I not denounce the circus, but I helped them legally in the ethical relocation of their animals.
When I had the opportunity to listen, meet and collaborate with the staff of the Wonderland Circus, for many months, I had the pleasant surprise of seeing another side of the circus, which I did not know and that surprised me positively. I must confess that there were many moments of tension and that it was not an easy journey, but in the end, among all we have achieved it and the animals, finally, are already in their "5 stars all inclusive resort" (Primadomus), thanks to the decision of the circus.
The Wonderland circus has been reinventing for almost two years, being the first circus in Spain to say:
"We are not going to use more shows with the animals and I'm going to take a step forward and make new shows so that people who love animals and do not like to see them in circuses, and also, we are going to look for an ethical sanctuary, where the animals are cared for ".
In Spain they are banning circuses with animals, in many municipalities, provinces (Malaga, Valencia, etc) and even communities (Catalonia and the Balearic Islands), but nevertheless, no ethical facilities are being provided by any administration, where to take them. This means that many circuses do not know what to do with their animals, do not have anywhere to take their animals and this situation encourages the animals to end up in other circuses or slaughtered. In Spain, we have two main problems in this area:
The lack of a state legislation that prohibits in the whole Spanish territory, the circuses with animals.
The null collaboration of the administration in this matter, not to provide ethical centers of animal welfare, to which the circuses can go to deliver their animals.
Today, finally, I can share it with all of you, that on Thursday, September 21, 2017, we made history together, since one of the biggest circuses in Spain, the Wonderland circus, donated all of its cats to a Sanctuary and will not return to perform shows with animals (something that has been doing almost two years). In addition, this case is a reference for other circuses, who wish to take a step forward and adapt to current times.
I want to thank your collaboration with this case: Raúl Mérida, veterinarians Amalia Melendreras and Salva, the staff of Primadomus (Pablo Delgado, Angel Guede, David van Gennep, Pilar, Miríam, Berta and all their volunteers), Maria and all the people who have collaborated with this case and the Wonderland circus.'
Below are some links to information about the use of animals in circuses
In France, over 65 communes have already outlawed animals in circuses. (Nowhere could I find a list of them)
List of countries banning wild animals in circuses 10/2015 http://www.ifaw.org/international/news/which-countries-have-bestworst-records-banning-animals-circuses