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As protests against the use of wild animals by the Austrian Circus Belly Wien/Renz currently touring the country grow stronger by the day, its increasingly beleaguered spokesperson has taken to claiming in media interviews that its animals are happy, because several camels have given birth since arriving here.
This is a claim as lacking in reassurance as it is desperate.
All species, our own included, are capable of conceiving and giving birth even in the most adverse of circumstances.
More than 5,000 babies have been born in the past year in one refugee camp in Jordan, to women fleeing five years of terror in Syria.
Intensively farmed sows give birth twice a year in conditions of almost total and permanent confinement.
Even animals forced to exist in the most desolate and terrifying of all environments — the vivisection laboratory — give birth.
The ability of an animal to reproduce is not, in itself, an indicator of that animal’s physical or mental well-being.
In the case of the Belly Wien/Renz Circus, the birth of several camels within weeks of their arrival in Ireland begs some very serious questions.
Why was permission granted to this outfit to transport such heavily pregnant animals from Holland to Ireland in the first place? And what does it say about the owners of this circus, that they would subject animals on the point of giving birth to such a long and arduous land and sea journey?
The birth of so many camels in Circus Belly Wien/Renz does nothing to assuage the concern many people have about the welfare of the more-than 70 animals in their care.
Rather, it makes all the more urgent the need for Ireland to follow the example of the majority of other EU countries which have already introduced full or partial bans on the keeping of animals in circuses.
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