Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Performing Animals Welfare Standards International
Further to my written evidence of 6 August and
my oral evidence before the select committee on 16 September 2004.
I would like initially to offer my apologies
for my very poor oral evidence on the 16 September, I am not used
to speaking in front of a committee such as this select committee
and I am afraid I became tongue tied and as such words came out
of my mouth which were complete and utter gobbledegook. When I
read the transcript I am embarrassed at my total lack of verbal
I hope, therefore, that you will look at this
further written evidence and take on board the points therein
with sympathy and accept this written evidence as a true and clear
(hopefully) view of the draft Animal Welfare Bill as seen by PAWSI.
I write, as always, on behalf of animals in
entertainment as this is what I have enjoyed as a career since
1960, having worked with all animals including exotics, lions,
elephants, tigers, bears and companion animals in major movies
world wide over 40 years.
The Animal Welfare Bill will determine a clear
and concise pathway for all land based industries as to their
duty of care to the animals with which they work.
It is a complex mish mash of views from the
very right wing "animal rights" campaigners to the very
weak "animal lovers" brigade.
It pays too much emphasis on the un-proven animal
abuse as levied by the extreme rights animal rights campaigners.
I would ask you to question and seek evidence
1. Actual abuse cases upheld in court where
the accused was found guilty of animal abuse?
We all know of the recent Chipperfield case
and find the video and pictures totally unacceptable.
This is just one bad apple among many very humane
animal trainers and owners and does not make the whole basket
of apples rejectable.
In every business, and I could quote many, there
are people and businesses where abuse goes on but it does not
make the industry as a whole questionable.
In my living memory there has never been a case
of abuse aimed at personal which provide animals for films and
television. There has been a lot of talk about how it is wrong
to use animals, especially exotics such as chimpanzees and elephants
but no actual cases of cruelty has ever been brought or proven
against a trainer who supplies animals in the media.
2. I would ask you to question why this is?
Could it possibly be because there is no abuse
and that the objections to animals in entertainment rests in subjective
views by activists fuelled by lies and emotive pictures and words
of those who wish to gain momentum for self fame and their five
minutes of television fame?
No animals which have been "rescued"
by animal welfare groups from circuses have been proved to be
in bad health or traumatised. Why is this? Could this be because
they are not in bad health or traumatised?
3. Times have changed
Over the decades times have changed, from our
view of how children should be workedchimneys and all thatto
how animals are treated by man have changed enormously through
the last century.
Over the last 50 yearswhen people like
David Attenborough, Gerald Durrell and Desmond Morris started
out as catchers and dealers of animals everyone has changed. Practices
which were deemed acceptable then are certainly not acceptable
now and so it is with animals in entertainment.
Yet if you listen to the animal anti brigade
the are the only ones who know anythingthis is not sotimes
have moved on and most people working with animals in entertainment
including circus have enormous experience and species specific
knowledge. They to have changed and moved towards more humane
treatment of animals and this is where they tower above all the
antis as they not only have the experience of how animals work
they have the hands on knowledge of the behavioural patterns of
The so called experts on the animal liberation
front have very little knowledge of what makes animals tick or
what animals actually enjoy or dislike. Yet these people appear
to have the power to persuade governments as to what is best for
animals in captivity.
4. An RSPCA report on the Training of Circus
In 1986 at the height of the anti animals in
entertainment campaign the RSPCA commissioned a research project
into animal abuse towards animals in entertainment and in particular
"The spectacle of performing animals is widely held to be
degrading and distasteful" (RSPCA 1986).
The RSPCA provided the finance for a study into
these claims and acquired the services of a well known academic
Marthe Kiley-Worthington to carry out research into this subject.
Ms Kiley-Worthington spent over 3,000 animal
hours over a period of 18 months with animal trainers watching
and studying, animal husbandry, training and care in all aspects
of producing animals for entertainment.
As a result of this study Ms Kiley-Worthington
found, in total contrast to the RSPCA's beliefs, that there was
no abuse whatsoever, that the animals were well adjusted and healthy
and that there was no foundation for the common belief that animals
in entertainment were disadvantaged in any way.
As may be expected the RSPCA withdrew their
further funding and it was left to UFAW who funded a research
assistant and the CPA (Circus Proprietors Association) who provided
funds for Marthe to publish her report.
Marthe Kiley-Worthington reported and published
her findings at the UFAW Animal training Symposium in Cambridge
in September 1989.
I would ask the select committee to gain access
to this report and study it before it reaches a conclusion as
to whether animals in entertainment are in peril or distress.
Ms Kiley-Worthington argues that there is no
argument that exotics should be given special consideration or
be banned from being looked after or worked in any situation.
She also says that the question of animals losing their dignity
or being made foolish is purely in the eyes of the beholder and
that the animal has no concept of dignity.
PAWSI agree with all and sundry that animal
abuse in any form is totally abhorrent and will do all that is
necessary to promote good animal husbandry and welfare both now
and in the future.
PAWSI have worked hard in recent times to promote
animal welfare in the entertainment industry, we have set and
completed NVQslevels 2 and 3specifically designed
for persons working with animals in the Audio Visual Industries.
These have been accepted and approved by City and Guilds and will
be in the colleges in September 2005.
PAWSI have drawn up Codes of Practice and a
monitoring system which has been embraced by the Audio and Visual
Industry. These groundbreaking moves will ensure good animal husbandry
in the world of entertainment for decades to come.
PAWSI are now working with Lantra on a level
4 NVQ for Animal Consultants.
6. We would therefore argue that:
Animals in entertainment and particularly exotic
animals are not disadvantaged or barred from use.
The arguments offered up by animal welfare
groups are subjective and have no grounding on reality and therefore
should be dismissed.
To impose a ban on exotics is unnecessary as
exotics are not "stolen from the wild" but are in fact
many generations born and bred in captivity.
"Hot" animals such as chimpanzees
and elephants generally do not suffer in the hands of animal's
trainers, in fact quite the opposite as these highly intelligent
animals benefit from training as they soon get bored and unhappy
left to their own devices. Even in Zoo situations they actively
seek the companionship of their human caregivers.
To impose a law on the grounds that "suffering
could or may be caused" is lunacy.
To allow an animal welfare group like the RSPCA
to control or hold a data base of licences and details of animals
in entertainment is fundamentally flawed as it allows access to
data which by the very nature of that welfare group is contrary
to their principles. This will make all animal trainers vulnerable
and subject to verbal and physical abuse by more hard line animal
To try and impose a law banning the use of any
species of animals in entertainment without further investigation
would be an infringement on human rights legislation, which enables
mankind to carry out any legal business. Obviously PAWSI would
endorse a duty of care to the animals concerned.
7. PAWSI hope that the select committee
look at our thoughts and insight into animals which are trained
and looked after by animal trainers in all aspects of entertainment
and dismiss subjective views and emotional outbursts.
Please look at Marthe Kiley-Worthington's report
which gives a good independent review of how we work. Marthe does
offer up recommendations as to improvements on how animals should
be kept in circuses and most circuses now subscribe to her ideas.
4 October 2004