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Monday 15.10.2018 | Name days: Hedviga, Helvijs, Eda

Series of 27 protests against use of wild animals in circus shows to conclude with flashmob

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThis Saturday, August 30th, there will be an unusual and visually striking flashmob near Riga Circus. During this flashmob, participants will symbolically express their support for compassionate and benevolent treatment of animals and will bid fare well to elephants Sonya and Vana Mana.

This flashmob will conclude the series of 27 protests that were organized and held outside of Riga Circus this year, as reported by Animal Freedom.

As it is known, a total of 26 protests have been held outside of Riga Circus this spring and summer in order to protest against the use of animals in circus shows. Prior to ever Riga Circus show that had elephants in them, activists of Animal Freedom would gather outside of the circus to inform residents about problematic aspects of life in the circus, asking people to sign a petition aimed at ending the use of animals in circus shows in Latvia.

Protests of Animal Freedom began this April – after Riga Circus was asked to discontinue partnership with Lars Holscher, an elephant trainer who is accused of cruelty towards animals. Riga Circus ignored this request. As a result – nearly 70 people participated in a protest act against the use of animals in circus shows. «In spite of public protests and requests from the organization, the management of Riga Circus continues to sign new contracts with animal trainers – all shows of the new summer programme of Riga Circus shows have performances with elephants,» – reports the organization.

Elephants Sonya and Vana Mana, who are used in shows in Riga Circus, were captured in the wild. They belong to an endangered group of animals – this was proven by the German Nature Conservation Agency. Use of endangered animals in circus shows is forbidden by Latvian laws.

Nevertheless, these elephants are continued to be used in Riga Circus shows, as reported by Animal Freedom organization.

Ever since spring 2014, two elephants are being used in shows of Riga Circus – African elephant Sonya and Asian elephant Vana Mana. This April, Animal Freedom representatives asked the Food and Veterinary Service to inspect documents for these elephants, their health state, living conditions and compliance with requirements of Latvia legislation.

After inspections at Riga Circus, FVS and Nature Conservation Office reported that no violations were found. The response letter to the organization did not contain information about the origin of these elephants. This is why Animal Freedom contacted the German Nature Conservation Agency and received copies of documents that stated that Sonya and Vana Mana were captured in the wild and are part of an endangered group of animals.

«Instead of reviewing information and presented arguments, the management of the circus has decided to cynically ignore matters of animal rights,» – Animal Freedom representative Aivars Andersons comments the situation. «This is why we urge everyone who believes exploitation of animals is unacceptable in Riga Circus to take part in protest acts this July and August and support the idea of having an animal-suffering-free circus.»

Use of wild animals in circus shows is forbidden in Austria, Netherlands, Israel, Greece, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica and elsewhere in the world.

Animal circus has been recognized as problematic in countless scientific publications, including the recent research endeavours by University of Bristol and Oxford. Animals are kept in small cages, often chained. They are isolated from their families and are unable to live in their natural habitat and natural behaviour. Animals are regularly transported across large distances in small cages. In order to make animal behave, trainers often use violent measures, including withholding of water and food. Constant stress and inappropriate living conditions often leave animals suffering from mental and physical illnesses and often die early, say representatives of the association.


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