Circus Arnardo celebrates its 65th birthday and marks the occasion by retiring their elephants.
“Animals and animal welfare are important to us,” says circus director Arild Arnardo in a statement. “Moreover, we are now choosing to retire elephants due to reasons of space. Because we still want to be able to say yes when invited to places around the country.”
Two Norwegian municipalities have already imposed more stringent requirements regarding elephant circus use in return for allowing them to appear.
Animal rights organisations in several countries have vowed to keep up their campaign to stop the mammals performing amongst cruelty concerns too.
In 2009, Norway’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food proposed also proposed imposing a veto on using elephants in circuses. This would give circuses five years to comply.
“We decided to replace the elephants with other animals this year after last season,” explains Mr Arnardo in today’s statement. He lists densification of urban centres and forward planning of circus seasons as other factors they must take into account.
According to the circus, camels, horses, cats, dogs, llamas and ponies will be the animals appearing this year. Their first performance is in southern Norway’s Arendal on 15th March.
Animal welfare organisation NOAH’s vet, Siri Martinsen, comments to The Foreigner that “we congratulate Circus Arnardo on their decision to now stop using elephants.”
“At the same time, they cite space reasons being behind this year’s decision but have not said they will not be using elephants in future years. We hope they won’t be doing that, as this will be a major credibility problem for them,” she concludes, adding NOAH is still concerned about the welfare of other animals appearing at circuses.
The other of two circuses in Norway, Circus Merano, is still using elephants, according to her.