Cork County Council has taken the first step to introducing bylaws which would ban circuses that use performing animals.
At the first full meeting yesterday of the new 55-seat council, a motion was tabled by Sinn Féin councillor Kieran McCarthy, who said it was well-documented that animals are suffering in circuses and it was time to ban such cruelty.
“Forcing them to perform and keeping them locked up in cages is wrong,” he said.
Mr McCarthy said the animals were akin to “slaves” and “captives”. He said support groups such as the ISPCA were opposed to using animals as circus acts.
Circuses which do not use performing animals still provided good entertainment and the county council should be encouraging them instead, he suggested.
“Only those should be welcome,” said Mr McCarthy. “Seven city and town councils have already passed bylaws preventing it [animal acts]. There’s no place in this day and age for using animals in circuses.”
Party colleague Paul Hayes said he had seen a behind-the-scenes video of the treatment of animals in circuses and described it as “very disturbing.”
Fianna Fáil councillor Margaret Murphy O’Mahony also leant her support to the motion, pointing out it was not natural for animals to be forced to dance, or sit on chairs.
“It’s the threat of physical punishment which makes them do it,” she said.
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