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Circus Code Deplorable - Minister "Weak"

20 December 200

Circus Code Deplorable - Minister "Weak"

The Minister of Agriculture, Jim Sutton, today sentenced circus animals to substandard, deplorable conditions unacceptable to most modern zoos. Opponents to circuses with performing animals are outraged that the Code ignores international opinion and accuse the Minister of being "weak".

"Over 18,000 New Zealanders made submissions to the Minister calling for a ban on circuses with animals. These calls have fallen on the deaf ears of a Minister too weak to take the plight of circus animals seriously. New Zealand circus operators now have legal authority to deprive and severely confine bears, elephants, lions and monkeys, or virtually any animal they choose, even a whale (as stated in an earlier draft Code)," says SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek.

SAFE submitted a comprehensive 40-page submission to the Minister that concluded that circus animals experience compromised welfare and psychological and physical stress. SAFE has been the most outspoken opponent of circuses with animals for over two decades.

"It seems extremely coincidental that the Minister sees fit to release the controversial circus code on SAFE¹s busiest day of the year ‹ our national annual street appeal."

Worldwide, veterinary associations, animal welfare behaviourists, wildlife institutes and animal welfare organisations oppose the use of animals in circuses. Over 15 countries and some 250 councils prohibit or restrict the use of exotic performing animals.

"New Zealand must follow the lead of countries such as Ireland, Finland, Brazil and Singapore, and most recently Austria, by prohibiting exotic animals from circuses. The circus code effectively legalises the torment of circus animals for the next decade. That animals be forced to suffer and made to do pathetic tricks is no longer considered acceptable. New Zealand legislation should reflect this," says Mr Kriek.

ENDS


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