I welcome news that hopefully all schools across Northern Ireland will no longer welcome circuses involving animals. I have been leading change by working to close this loophole for the last few months.
I am glad that the loophole allowing circuses involving animals to easily establish circuses at sites across Northern Ireland has now hopefully been closed.
Evidence from the Alliance for Animal Rights details ‘Animals in circuses live a life of restriction, cages, chains and constant transportation.’
With circus animals sometimes forced to perform confusing, uncomfortable, repetitious and often-painful acts I am glad that my actions will make it more difficult for circuses involving animals to establish at many sites across Northern Ireland. It will also be a relief for people living near the old Bangor Academy School who had to endure the Circus Vegas on their doorstep during late July / early August 2010.
I will continue to campaign and lead change to see a Northern Ireland wide ban on circuses involving animals. Animal welfare must be higher up the political agenda.
After successfully lobbying the Education Minister and each Education and Library Board I was able to announce in November 2010 that the South Eastern Board have decided to ban circuses involving animals from any of their land.
The Western Board has also agreed to implement a similar ban and Belfast Board informs me that no applications have yet been received by circuses and, if so, would be carefully considered. No response was forthcoming from the Southern Board and the North Eastern Board was refusing to take action.
The Southern Education and Library Board have now responded detailing they ban use of their land by commercial purposes such as circuses involving animals.
After contacting the Minister for Education and requesting that she takes action and intervenes in relation to the North Eastern Board I am now informed by Caitríona Ruane that the North Eastern Board “will be strongly advising schools against the use of their premises for any commercial purposes in line with Board policy.”