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Residents want animals banned from the circus

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

A group of Lagos residents have got together to try and stop animals being used in the circus and to get Lagos Câmara to ban the Victor Hugo Cardinali circus from the city.

The group, STOP Lagos circus – Say NO to animal cruelty, has also set up an online petition called “Stop the animal circus in Lagos”.

The petition was set up by Ben Veit, Natalie Baart and Emma Thomson. Emma, who works as a veterinary nurse, told the Algarve Resident: “I have recently been to Africa where I saw lions and other animals living in the wild so it is really upsetting to see the animals and how they are kept at the circus.

“I keep on telling people that elephants are not supposed to go camping and live in tents with chains around their necks.  I have not been into the circus as I refuse to pay but I have seen the animals tied up outside.”

The petition began with a Facebook status update but soon grew and the online petition was formed.

“When we set up the Facebook group, we had 300 friends within 24 hours, which shows the level of support for this cause and when we approach people to sign the petition we have a lot of support,” she said.

“Our aim is to get 2,000 signatures and then to make an appointment with Lagos Mayor to discuss banning the circus from the city.  So far we have around 400 signatures online and a few pages of written signatures too.”

The petition site also refers to the collapse of an elephant in the Victor Hugo Cardinali circus.

Victor Hugo Cardinali told the Algarve Resident: “Many more animals will die here at the circus because that is nature. It is not because we mistreat them.”

A local resident, who did not want to be named, told the Algarve Resident: “Animals in circus are very badly treated and don’t have any kind of freedom. They are unfortunate, depressed animals that will probably die in that environment. “Animal cruelty in circus should be taught to children who go to circus to enjoy the animal shows. Children should be aware that animals suffer and are not an object to be used for entertainment.”

Meanwhile, the Portuguese animal rights group Associação Animal advises anyone who witnesses animal distress or cruelty in circuses to inform the authorities as quickly as possible.

Spokesman Miguel Moutinho told the Algarve Resident: “Municipal vets should inspect circus animals when they arrive to ensure that they are healthy and well cared for. “People should notify the Câmara and the local GNR where the circus is set up, and ask for the municipal vet to inspect the animals.”

A spokesman from the Ministry of the Environment explained that in the case of animal cruelty, complaints should be channelled to the Institute of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB), the General Directorate of Veterinary Services (DGV) and police authorities. 

Victor Hugo Cardinali, whose circus who will be performing in Lagoa from today (Friday) to Sunday, said: “The animals in the circus are our family and we treat them as such. When an animal suffers, then we all suffer.”

If you wish to sign the petition “Stop the animal circus in Lagos”, please visit www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/stopcircus/0/7