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A Circus Of Lincolnshire Advocates

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With ambiguous “no excuse for animal abuse” pickets, circus campaigners have once again defied logic and muddied the waters between use, treatment, and the types of animals deserving of moral respect.

Circus Mondeo in Lincolnshire held a show last weekend featuring “performances” from llamas, horses and a camel. With the advocates outside the circus focusing on “abuse” – and not our use of animals as a general matter – it is easy to see why the ringmaster, Petra Jackson, would invite the advocates inside to see just how well the animals are treated. According to Lincolnshire Live, Petra claims the following:

“Our horses do dressage, people do that every day all around the world – they are not doing triple somersaults and they are not jumping through hoops of fire, they are not doing that.”

“In the day time they go out grazing in the fields then in the afternoon we get them and we get them cleaned up for the show and in the show they do like dressage.”

“You get the animal rights people saying that they are living in cramped conditions, living in cages on the back of a truck, telling a tale. As you can see they are in stables they are not in cramped conditions if you wanted it to be cramped conditions I would expect three horses in there not one.”

“Some people are against human interaction with animals which is what these animal rights groups are, they also want to stop horse racing and they want to stop pet ownership, all human interaction with animals they want to stop – which I think is insanity.”

“It’s upsetting we get this criticism – victimised and bullied.”

Of course Petra believes that what these campaigners are suggesting is “insanity.” Petra has not been educated by these people to see that it’s our use of sentient beings as resources – regardless of how they are treated – that presents us with a moral problem. Similarly, the message Petra has received is also the message the public will receive upon seeing such ambiguous advocacy. “Abuse” has no meaning within the context of a society where suffering and death is considered acceptable and legitimate wherever it has a human benefit.

A spokesperson for the Lincoln group appeared on the radio. With respect to how the circus animals are treated, she had this to say: “They might be looked after from the outside, but you have been invited across to see them, we don’t know what goes behind the scenes and we know full well that a lot of undercover footage from various circuses in the UK that have animals have witnessed the abuse of the animals.”

This does nothing but promote the message that the use of animals in entertainment – or any institution for that matter – is better in a moral sense when there is less “abuse.” But we don’t need undercover investigations to tell us that there are “better” ways of doing the wrong thing – that simply promotes continued exploitation. Less suffering “behind the scenes” is obviously preferable to more suffering, but we should never promote the idea that the degree of “abuse” has any bearing whatsoever on the immorality of using animals. The point is that whether or not things are bad “behind the scenes,” we engage in unjust behaviour simply by assuming animals to be things for unnecessary human purposes. Whether it’s for entertainment, food, experimentation, etc, the moral wrong committed by using animals as property is exactly the same.

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