There can be no denying it, but our campaign to ban animal-act circuses has being given more media attention in one week than we could have hoped for in one full year! Our work is truly changing the entire face of a country that has ignored the plight of animal suffering for far too long.
You will know by now that on Tuesday, March 27 an elephant with the ‘Courtney Brothers Circus’ ran loose through a car park. Footage of this incident was captured by a couple of office workers that sparked what was to be an international story followed by interesting developments including a big ARAN demonstration, click here. The circus in question has been touring Ireland for the last couple of months and ARAN has been the main Irish animal rights group shadowing the circus at their every stop, either organising demonstrations or highlighting through the media public safety and animal welfare problems associated with keeping wild animals in a travelling circus. At each stop we garnered full local press coverage highlighting our concerns and encouraging countless people to stop supporting animal-act circuses.
Shortly after the elephant running from the circus, ARAN immediately jumped in to refocus what was going to be a story of an ‘elephant going for coffee’ or ‘trying to reverse into a parking lot’. ARAN’s prompt intervention attracted huge media coverage that had our phones genuinely ringing off the hook. Within twenty-four hours our campaign’s message to ban animal- act circuses was gaining momentum. By Wednesday morning we started doing radio interviews on nearly all national and many local radio stations including but not limited to, 4FM, Dublin’s 98FM, Newstalk, Today FM, SPIN 1038FM, Phantom FM, Lite FM, Cork’s Red FM, Cork’s 95FM, Matt Cooper’s Last Word on Today FM, The George Hook Show on Newstalk, BBC Radio, Irish radio station Radio Na Life, UTV Radio and many international radio stations from as far afield as the USA and Australia. Newspaper coverage started off with both newspaper and online articles in, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Irish Sun, Irish Star, Irish Mirror, Irish Daily Mail, Evening Herald, Metro Herald, The Cork News, The Cork Independent, Evening Echo. Dozens of online news articles started appearing everywhere including, Build.ie, Gtigazette.com, Ireland.com, Broadsheet.ie, Irish Central, Breakingnews.ie, Silobreaker, Irishtimes.com, Europeanirish.com, news.google.ie, peoplesrepublicofcork.ie, Studentnews.ie, Theamerican.ie, Digitaljournal.com, Nowpublic.com, Ballyfermot College Newspaper, Eircom.net, Youghalonline.com. As the media frenzy unfolded, public outrage was creeping in with dozens of calls from members of the public wanting to know what they could do to help, requesting more information on our campaigns and how they can get involved in a planned demonstration that we had announced prior to the elephant running loose. On Thursday evening ARAN’s website ARAN.ie went down due to the high volume of visitors to our site that’s still under construction. Visitors to the website got the message, "The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later".
Prior to the elephant escaping, ARAN had already planned a big demonstration outside the circus while it was at The Sunbeam in Blackpool, Cork. ARAN announced to the media that our “elephant” ‘Neville’ would be leading the demonstration. Shortly after this announcement we again started receiving more coverage of our planned demonstration as well as our campaign to ban animal-act circuses. Reports appeared in The Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Times, Evening Echo, Cork Independent, The Cork News, The Sunday Business Post, breakingnews.ie, youghalonline, Ireland.com and a host of other media outlets. RTE also contacted us for more information on our campaign. The story also appeared in tons of other media outlets. Whilst The PAWS Summit for Elephants Conference was underway in the USA, ARAN was working with our colleagues at Animal Defenders International. More than a dozen top animal protectionists, scientists and those working in the field of elephant conservation called for an end to the use of elephants in travelling circuses. ARAN’s campaign was also covered by media outlets around the world including, Australia, USA, Japan and Germany.
On Saturday, March 31, up to one hundred and fifty supporters and members of the public attended a hugely successful march and protest from Blackpool Shopping Centre to a point directly opposite the circus. This protest was given morning coverage on Cork’s Red FM and Cork’s 96FM along with Today FM talking about the protest and our campaign. ARAN began receiving calls about an incident that took place with the elephants at the Courtney’s Circus involving a man who had to be taken to hospital for medical treatment. We reissued our appeal for emergency legislation to be brought into the upcoming Animal Health and Welfare Bill and also for local councils across the country to introduce similar legislation to Cork and Fingal Councils. The incident with the man in the circus who was seriously injured prompted a deluge of further media calls which resulted in either full page or half page articles in all Irish media outlets including The Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Sun, Irish Star, Irish Daily Mail, Irish Mirror, The Sun on Sunday, The Cork News, Cork Independent, Evening Echo, Metro Herald and many more. Radio stations also covered our campaign’s message ranging from Cork’s 96FM, Cork’s Red FM, Lite FM, Kildare FM, Tipperary FM, Clare FM, Today FM, Newstalk, Limerick’s 95FM, WLRFM and others. We also dealt with further media calls from outlets including The Irish Star, The Daily Mail, The Spanish News Agency and Reuters. Working with Animal Defenders International, we have urged the circus to hand over the elephants to us so that we can provide them with lifelong care and sanctuary. ARAN would also like to thank 'The Party Company' based on the Kinsale Road in Cork for kindly lending us their elephant costume.
Also this week, we spoke on Near FM about our work on the upcoming Animal Health and Welfare Bill and raised concerns about the lack of legislation to ban hare coursing, fur farming and animal-act circuses. ARAN also coordinated another great school talk that prompted an encouraging response from students, click here. Our work to ban blood sports and hunting in Ireland also received coverage this week again on Irish national television station, TV3, click here.
ALMOST 150 ARAN MEMBERS PROTEST 'COURTNEY BROTHERS CIRCUS' IN CORK, PROMPTS NATIONAL MEDIA ATTENTION