International animal organisations continue circus elephant veto campaign / News / The Foreigner

International animal organisations continue circus elephant veto campaign. As Norway’s 2013 circus season continues its travels, several animal rights organisations focus their attention one and all circus elephants in their battle to ban the animals appearing. Asia-born Baba belongs to Adriana Folco Althoff. The elephant performs with Norway’s Circus Merano, most recently at several shows in western Norway’s Rogaland County. The circus is on tour in Norway until 25 March, according to current information on their website. Ringmaster Knut Dahl, who is currently leading the circus’ 39th season in Norway, says in a statement “our goal is to provide the public country-wide a small break from everyday stress, creating a coherent overall experience, top family entertainment in absolutely every place we visit. Our only goal is to entertain.”

norwayelephants, circuselephantban, animalrights



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International animal organisations continue circus elephant veto campaign

Published on Monday, 18th March, 2013 at 17:46 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

As Norway’s 2013 circus season continues its travels, several animal rights organisations focus their attention one and all circus elephants in their battle to ban the animals appearing.

Elephant Baba at the circus in Norway
Elephant Baba at the circus in Norway
Photo: ©2013 Michael Sandelson/The Foreigner


“Mutual respect”

Asia-born Baba belongs to Adriana Folco Althoff. The elephant performs with Norway’s Circus Merano, most recently at several shows in western Norway’s Rogaland County. The circus is on tour in Norway until 25 March, according to current information on their website.

Ringmaster Knut Dahl, who is currently leading the circus’ 39th season in Norway, says in a statement “our goal is to provide the public country-wide a small break from everyday stress, creating a coherent overall experience, top family entertainment in absolutely every place we visit. Our only goal is to entertain.”

Friday’s performance included camels, performing dogs and cats, parrots, energetic foot-juggling, a ventriloquist, and clowns.(Video at bottom of article). Baba the elephant rounded off the show, dancing to the band’s accompaniment, foot-lifting, and blowing candles out with her trunk.

In connection with her appearance in eastern Norway in February, Fredrikstad-based publication Demokraten wrote their view was that “the relationship between Adriana and Baba is one of mutual respect and deep love - a love that has grown and developed throughout childhood and adolescence.”

Another local publication, Fredriksstads Blad, mentioned up to 1,800 people turned up to see one of the performances.At the same time, several people demonstrated against using elephants and other animals at circuses in general.

Changed

Norway Food Safety Authority logo
Norway Food Safety Authority logo
Food Safety Authority
In 2009, Norway’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food sent out a proposal to ban elephants from all circuses in Norway altogether. Its introduction would mean circuses had five years to comply.

Animal welfare legislation up to 2010 prohibited using animals at public performances. Food Safety Authority (FSA) officials write that “Those who wished to [do this] had to apply for FSA for authorisation in each case.”

“Such permission was given regarding animals that are considered as livestock in Norway and other countries subject to special conditions,” they say, in a statement of 26th November 2012.

In an update to the post, dated 15th March this year, the FSA says that animal welfare still very much applies, but has decided to look at restricting which particular animal species – which does not include elephants – could be displayed in public, including at circuses.

In an email to The Foreigner Maria Været Veggeland, Senior Advisor Section for Animal Welfare and Fish Health at the FSA explains, “In 2009, a proposal for a new regulation on animals in circuses and zoos contained a ban on the use of elephants in circuses. This was in accordance with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s (FSA) recommendations, as we regard elephants as unsuited for such use.”

“At a later stage, the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food nevertheless decided that they would not ban the use of elephants in circuses. Instead they instructed the FSA to draft recommendations on the keeping of elephants in circuses. The hearing of these new “elephant keeping regulations” has just ended [on 15th March].”

“It’s unacceptable”

Baba the circus elephant
Baba the circus elephant
Iselin Linstad Hauge/Animal Protection Alliance
“We’re very disappointed that the FSA has gone back on its earlier decision following pressure from the Minister of Agriculture [Trygve Slagvold Vedum],”says Susanna Emmika Lybæk at the NorwegianAnimal Protection Alliance.

“We also think it shocking that Norway is still using elephants in circuses in the 21st Century. The FSA uses the argument that using them is traditional, but all scientific research shows elephants are not happy in circuses.”

Animal welfare organisations NOAH and theSociety for Protection of Animals have both condemned the Agriculture Minister’s move.

“It’s tragic that the Ministry, spearheaded by Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, dismisses professional advice so easily and allows this exploitation of elephants continue,” declares the Society’s press spokesperson Linn Krogstad.

“We worked very hard for many yearsto convince the FSA to consider the scientificevidence about elephant’s natural behaviour needs, and asked them to propose the ban back in 2009,” NOAH’s veterinarianSiri Martinsen says to The Foreigner.¨

Calls for dignity

Meanwhile, retired Bergens Tidende journalist Inge Sellevåg has taken up Baba’s case (external link) after he saw her in a circus performance in 2012.

Siri Martinsen
Siri Martinsen
Bente Isefjær/NOAH
He is affiliated to Germany-based the European Elephant Group (EEG), who describe themselves as “an association of people concerned with the fate of elephants whose physical or mental health is in danger.”

Another animal rights group has written to Norway Financial Supervisory Authority chairman Endre Skjørestad and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

They ask that abused circus elephants are rescued, increased punishments for those they say harm elephants in captivity, and transport elephants to sanctuaries.

Neither the Authority nor the Prime Minister’s Office say they are aware of the communication, which includes a petition.

“Baba’s situation not only illustrates the plight of all captiveelephants, but all the evidence points towards that she was caught in the wild and she is alsoalone,” states NOAH’s Siri Martinsen.

“We wish to convince the owners of Baba and other circus elephant owners to hand over the elephants to sanctuaries so they can have a worthwhile life for their remaining years,” she concludes.


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Published on Monday, 18th March, 2013 at 17:46 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: norwayelephants, circuselephantban, animalrights.





  
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