Animal rights organisation PETA has chosen unusual celebrities for its new anti-circus ad campaign: Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh & Pudsey, who are a teenage girl and her dancing dog.
Unveiling the ad in Westminster, 17-year-old Ashleigh, who appears in the ad as a clown, spoke out against the “beatings” circus animals allegedly endure “for the sake of so-called entertainment.”
|Keeping animals in the circus|
Zippos ringmaster Norman Barrett MBE
(Photo: Piet-Hein Out, courtesy Zippos)
Pudsey the dog, who is dressed as a lion in the ad, declined to comment on the ad’s slogan: “The Saddest Show On Earth - Get Wild Animals Out Of The Circus.” But the message was clear: it’s okay for an animal to dance on prime time TV but not in a circus ring.
Amusingly, Zippos circus had previously made several attempts to hire Ashleigh and her canine companion. According to showman Martin Burton, “It appears I didn’t offer as much money as PETA, and Ashleigh and her agent went for the higher paid job!”
But is Ashleigh right to call for a ban on animal circuses? I looked into the matter in great depth for my book Circus Mania!, making backstage visits to several circuses and speaking to several former and current animal trainers, including Britain’s last lady tiger trainer. For the full inside story on the way circus animals are kept and trained, buy Circus Mania! direct from Peter Owen Publishers at the SPECIAL OFFER price of just £10 postage-free. Send cheques to:
Peter Owen Publishers
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London N8 9NP
Tel: 020 8350 1775