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 May 6th General Election and Circuses

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Ivan Healey



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Join date : 2009-08-24

PostSubject: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:11 pm

Not long now until we go to the polls and if you didnt already know this is what the main three parties views are on Circuses with wild animals...

The Labour Party will definately ban circuses with wild animals.

The Liberal Democrats will ban wild animals but not ''domesticated dogs and horses''.

I'm not quite sure what the Conservatives views are , and even looking on their website there is no hint of the issue, (unless i was looking in the wrong place).
The Tories seem more interested in more ''important'' issues such as the NHS, pensioners, education and immigration.

Im not saying the future of our circuses is not important but the tories appear to be getting their election manifesto priorities right!

If we lost the wild animals in our circuses(all 4 of them) it would certainly be an end of an era , but for ''all'' animals to dissapear from our shows ? Can you imagine it?

There were 12,907 responses to the DEFRA ''ARE CIRCUSES CRUEL?'' debate, which took place between December 2009 and March of this year.

Strange time of year to do something like this dont you think? Most of us are worrying about Christmas and in the New Year worrying about the bills!

How many of the 12,907 were members of Animal Rights groups,Animal Defenders,PETA, RSPCA etc, etc we will never know ! but with a population of an estimated 60 million in this country and only 4 circuses that have ''wild'' animals it makes you think!

Any how if you can vote on May the 6th dont waste your vote... and hopefully this time next year, you never know, we may still be able to visit a circus of our choice with animals!!!l
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roberto



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PostSubject: Re: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:17 pm

I cannot believe what I have just read! You were suggesting to vote the conservative party on the ground that it didn't express an opinion regarding animals in circuses!!!
Either You must be the greatest circus fan on earth or you are so privileged that no troubles have ever touched you! Let me quote "...the tories need to make their priorities right".
Yeah, what about unemployment; what about cuts in investments; what about debts; what about poverty; what about world femine; and I could go on.
And then, why people should be worried about their bills from december to march? Did you miss that the last two years people had to face troubles and worries day after day, from january to december?
12907 people answered the DEFRA's questionaire about wild animals in circus. 12000 expressed that animals should be banned immediately from circuses.
12000 cannot rapresent and speak for the majority of the population (as you rimind us 60 millions). Yes they were 12000 antis or veggies.
Did you ask yourself why the friends of the circus didn't bother to click on the DEFRA website and read the survey? Despite the fact that it was widely publicised on circusfriends.co.uk , King Pole Magazine, the Times, the Mail on Sunday and the Observer (to my knowledge), and news on CBBC.
So 7 people said they don't want anything changed and circuses should keep their animals. Fair enough, but what I'm worried about is that small number, 7, and that is what is left of the circusfans? Now we can explain why circuses, despite the £5 a ticket, rarely fill their big tops. Sad.

Few weeks ago I received a friendship request on Facebook. Came from a 15 years old guy from South Tyneside. He showed me his circus model, pictures taken at Uncle Sam American Circus. He keeps asking were the circus is. He has already seen quite few circuses coming in the area. In a way he remind me when I was younger and hit by the circusbug!
He didn't know anything about the circusfriends association. He didn't know anything of King Pole Magazine. He doesn't know the meatings in various circuses. He doesn't have any knowledge of Mills Circus, the old Billy Smart's, the Chipperfields, etc. Of course, never read a book of circus history.
250 years of history and circuses are totally ignored by at least two generations in this Country!

So, according Ivan Healey, don't waste your vote, choose the party that is not going to ban animals from circuses. And just in case you don't have a job go to the nearest pay box , get a cheap ticket, and watch the elephants saying thank you to have saved their job! Sad
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burt renaolds



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PostSubject: Re: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:57 am

I could had quite a lot to this interesting developing thread! But I would probably be insulted. I have been told there are 900 circus fans (we have only met with six over the past ten years). If the number is correct, as I have pointed out to a member of the committee, it would suggest an income of around £18,000? A lot could be done with that amount of cash to forward knowledge of circus to the generally ignorant. Of course the proprietors could do much the same - some are quite well off.
I have done my bit for circus over 50 years and, even now, I am ahead of the CFA when it comes to circus artiste promotion (see childrenschoices) and ahead when it comes to the saving of venues to work in, see my Facebook page - group - Support the Best for Circus Artistes' - only ONE circus fan has joined it. I would welcome the remaining 899!
A certain person said 'Tom you will not have many friends'. My friends on Facebook include many leading artistes in show biz (take a look) some of whom we have known personally (like a season with Ken Dodd)
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Ivan Healey



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PostSubject: Re: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:04 am

I hold my hands up and apoligise sincerely if it appeared that i was canvasing for the Conservative Party, which im not.

I was only trying to point out that ''the end is nigh'' if you like , if the Lib Dems or the Labour Party were to run the next government.

I did point out that the Conservative Party have many issues, as do the other major political parties, which to the majority of the country are far more important to address than wild animals in Britains circuses. The economy, unemployment, immigration, pensions, crime etc, etc, etc.
Im sure that on a list of priorities the banning of wild circus animals is a long way down the list!

When Tony Blair and the Labour Party won the General Election some years ago i was visiting one of our big traditional circuses on Lincolns South Common and one of the directors of the show said to me '' I suppose you like this new goverment? we dont!''. After all the Labour Party is renowned for banning things and ALL govements hate people being free!

Me and my family look forward to the annual visit of The Great British Circus and i would hate to see this show lose its animals or worse still go off the road. The same can be said for Bobby Roberts Super Circus which has carried on the strong tradition of Robert Brothers Circus.
Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly's Circus also have animals considered ''wild'' and i would not like to see thesears shows stop either.

When i was a kid the first shows i can remember seeing were Robert Brothers, Chipperfield's, Sir Robert Fossett's, Circus Hoffman and Austen Brothers.
It was down to my late father that caught the circus bug and have been a circus fan for all of my life. As a circus fan i actively promoted circuses with animals for many years until the point that i actually joined a show. After leaving that circus and coming back home the first thing to greet me when i opened a local newspaper was that my local council was to blanket ban circuses with animals!
It then makes you think why bother?

For years i felt that the Circus Friends Association could and should have done more to promote circuses with animals and the same could be said for the Association of Cicus Proprietors.
If the CFA had a ''active militant'' wing to its association that could have fought off the attacks from the likes of CAPS and Animal Aid perhaps traditional circus wouldnt be in the state its in now.

Too little , too late springs to mind!

I contacted the ACP recently with regard to a fun fair on council owned land which is also promoting a 'donkey derby' on Bank Holiday Monday.
I also contacted the local council and questioned this and apparently there is an exception to the rule of a blanket ban on circus animals when it came to ''sporting events''. The same council recently had a ''world triathlon olympic'' event which included show jumping.
A council with double standards or a council bending the rules to attract Olympic Athletes to stay in its area for the 2012 Olympics and use it as a training camp.
( a similar situation and argument has arose in the London Borugh of Greenwich where the council want the Greenwich side of Blackheath Common Circus Site to be used as a training ground and quarters for the Olympic show jumpers- yes its the same side of Blackheath Common where you cant have a circus with horses or dogs but you can have tired looking donkeys walking up and down all day long giving rides to kids).

You see i would love my local council to relax its ban so the likes of Zippos Circus complete with Tom Roberts gorgeous Palominos and Norman Barretts budgies could visit the area! If you can have showjumping, donkey derby's and falconry at the local historic castle then surely you could accomadate a circus with domestic animals.

The RSPCA has even said on record that wild circus animals have not by thier nature had the years of domestication with humans such as horses and dogs.

Dont get me wrong we should be proud of the excellent high standards and presentation of our all human shows and Tony Hopkins, Phillip Gandey and the Entertainment Corporation,Niven Lawson etc. are to be congratulated on raising standards and getting people back into the Big Top.

Sorry Roberto it was never my intention to offend you and i was fully aware of the reccession that hit our country and the world. I was merely pointing out that Christmas and New Year was a strange time of year for DEFRA to ask for opinion on the issue.

I appreciate that the Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain is the goverment recognised body for the industry and an extremely busy organisation but a reply(however short) would have been nice.
Or perhaps because only 3 ? of its members have animals and the majority have all human shows it just wasnt worth it ?

Tom im sure you could add plenty to this thread and look forward to reading some of your views soon.
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burt renaolds



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PostSubject: Re: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:06 am

Ivan, I could indeed add a few items to the thread but it would depend whether or not it stays constructive and intelligent.
As for politics, I share the view of Rick in Casablanca 'I am a drunkard'!
I might say 'which one is the Toni'?
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roberto



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PostSubject: Re: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:54 am

Tom, if you want to keep alive this thread, please, vent your spleen!, add what you want to say. I didn't feel offended by Ivan, so I don't think there is any need to apologize. I respect opinions and this time was a mere disappointment that, when we talk about circuses, we consider them as victims of whatever. A disappointment that in times like these, we compare the big trouble that people has to face every day with the decline of traditional circuses. If you don't provoke, you don't know how far you can go to keep a thread open and discuss. Sadly, as Tom said, you have to be careful of what you say and try to avoid to hurt some friends of yours.
Unfortunatley, the lack of coherence, the fear to criticize when needed, have made things worst. Few circuses named above, dispite the animals, hardly we can say they have a good show. We always have good comments even if we know they are a mere shadow of Billy Smart and Chipperfield. There are good shows, traditional circus such as the Moscow, Tony Hopkins, but they are "all human" show. And the press doesn't bother anymore to review a circus or dedicate a small space in the newspaper to promote (to help) the circus in town.
Except when the antis protest outside the big top. The reason is because, there is no show in some circuses, nothing to say.
Traditional circuses gave up 30 years ago when the big ones closed down: either because the high costs to run a circus, or because they had made enough money to invest into a different and less risky business. Or maybe they felt that the wind of changes was already blowing against the circus.
Today the all human circus owners have themselves run (or worked) animal circuses in the past, and they are the same who say that a certain circus is dead.And this doesn't help.
Circuses should promote themselves. Old circus families should defend their unique and ancient culture. They had to connected with the "outside" world. They had to fight councils that started to ban animals circuses in their boroughs. Circuses had to become "political". And now is too late to think that circus could become a political interest: so much so that we didn't see any reaction to the outcome of Defra's survey. Maybe it was inevitable. Circus isn't going to be a political matter, whatever is the the ruling party or the leader.
In these 30 years that have seen the demise of traditional circuses in this Country, in Europe tens of large traditional old circuses has fold down their big tops: Williams, Althoffs, Togni, Orfei, Bougliones, Gruss. Some names that we still see around have nothing of the old circuses. Some old names still live in cabaret and theatres (Sarrasani). And when we talk of the success of Krone in Germany, let not to forget that many other less popular circuses close down every day and never replaced.
Tom Sandow has often attacked those who love to show the pictures of the big tops or trucks and caravan, and ask information only about these things. I understand his frustration when it comes to promote shows reather then outsides. But when we begun to love circus we start to apreciate outside before the shows and sadly few of us tried to understand the culture of this "parallel" world. And yet, the showmen never incouraged to come close, I would say the gates were tightly shut. Sadly most of the fans are still (the euphemism I always use) counting the fairy lights of the pay boxes and ask a discount for a ticket in the name of a circusfriend!!!
I guess, if this website had a richer archive of circus pictures (and I don't mean shows!), videos, it would have been more popular and frequented and more usefull in spreading the circus culture. We have always to start from somewhere!

PS Tom, not necessarely on Face book somebody cames to ask you your friendship, you can go around and ask their friendship. And if you decide to contact artists and owners you will never have ordinary people who happens to love circuses. I submit you my request of friendship sometime ago, but, using the Facebook language, you ignored me!
Thanx for reading.
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burt renaolds



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PostSubject: Re: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:50 am

Roberto
That was certainly some reply! I was not aware you asked of my friendship some time ago? I would not ignore such a request from anyone (something wrong somewhere)
This animal issue dominates circus far too much and the CFA have themselves in a pickle about it. I will give my view based upon the experience of 50 years. Joe Gandey did not tour wild animals (a chosen policy) my father did not tour wild animals (a chosen polcy). 30 years ago I was a member of the Equity VAAC and made a draft proposal for consideration by the business. My argument was (and is) that circus art is part of the theatre. Astley called it a theatre - it started in buildings with Pantomine being the second half of the show! Street theatre/circus started together. Circus was part of The Variety Artistes Federation. Our family worked for 30 years in the top Moss Empires on VAF Contracts - hard won by I might add after much suffering (by circus acts - Variety acts and actors) being duped out of payments (Managements doing a runner). Equity took over the VAF in the 1960s and circus was downgraded and has been down graded since and no-one can say it is not so.
My proposals were simple. That the ACP should dominate all of circus that small shows should be encouraged to tour the small towns the model being Joe Gandey, the most successful of them. Apart from employment they would be the British area for artistic training with artistes improving enough to be among the best in the world and then gravitate to the larger shows. An upward stream. the public and the press would understand this - they are not stupid, many small theatrical groups are puitting on South Pacific and the public do not expect a West End Show.
I said that the smaller shows should not tour wild animals - not wise as Gandey told me and I fully understood, not wise in small recreation grounds close to housing. I also said in the report that a scale of payments should be made to artistes in training until they equal the best in the world. Strange that we now have a situation with the best in the world subsidising Eastern Europe and the far east! (You should now what I mean)
For my effort with the above whilst managing our own small circus company was a complete rebutal and a general title 'Tom Sandow is a Communist!! And, he must be against performing animals.
My point was that only (certain) big shows were able or capable or wise enough to tour wild animals
If we could not sort out our own business why would the politicians care a jot? And they do not care a jot.
I have now been insulted again (do not worry, I have a very hard skin now!) by British Actors Equity (Official) for suggesting that the nations wonderful small Civic theatres must be safeguarded for employment (the same above message). Not one jot of effort from anyone in this direction.
I would not suggest direction to vote in an any election - it is a private matter (I do believe in personal freedoms and less of a dictatorial state) but Mr. Cameron has said he will freeze Council Tax, very good but appreciate, this means the closure of venues owned by the Councils and a rise in any hire fees paid by circuses - money must come from somewhere.
My problem with the CFA (management therof) is it secrecy. I asked who its President was (ignored), The CFA once took pride in naming its President. Earlier posts from me will show suggestions how the CFA might promote circus fully and make a profit from the enterprise! But, what has happened to John Turners '200 Years of British Circus' website? Gone without a trace or a word of explanation after myself, but certainly so many others contributed so much to it. Linked to the CFA to promote circus art - I said. It has vanished without a word or care. If the CFA does not care about circus contributers to a main site what does it care about?
Is this the way to 'run a railway'?
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Ivan Healey



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PostSubject: Re: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:06 am

If we are to remain circus ''friends'' i guess the answer is to ''go with the flow'' and support our circuses with or without animals.

I do find it disheartning when you do try and help or make suggestions, provide information etc. and noone acknowledges you.
(still no reply from the Association of Circus Proprietors).

Martin Burton has done an excellent job over the last ten years or so in re-opening grounds to allow circuses with domestic animals.
I believe this was all down to himself and David Hibling with very little help from the ACP, of which he is a member.

With only Bobby Roberts Super Circus as a member with 'wild' animals, and i say 'wild' loosely if you can call a retired elephant and a camel as wild, has the ACP thrown in the towel and given up on classical circus?

What are the ACP policies these days with the majority of its members running all human shows?

If we live in a town with a ban on animals and would like to approach our local authority with aims of relaxing the ban to include domestics will the ACP help?

As for the Circus Friends Association,without being insulting, i have never had much time for the management or the way it has been managed.If you approached them some years ago about the animal issue the reply was always 'write a letter to your local council' or 'can we refer you to the ACP' or its down to the ACP.
The ACP would often reply that it was down to the individual circus proprietors and directors and that 'they dont help themselves'.

Is it any wonder then that the majority of CFA members are just content with King Pole falling through there letterbox quarterly and doing nothing else.

The Circus Society never had a glossy A4 colour magazine but it was responsible for fighting more bans and lifting more bans than i believe the CFA and ACP ever did!
As a result circus directors were giving private donations to the Circus Society because they knew the Society was fighting for them and would respond to any press correspondence after the show had moved on.(because circus has no voice at local level and thats where the circus friends come in...re fun fair , donkey derby ACP!)

The King Pole magazine is an excellent publication and David Jamieson does a stirling job and i know it costs a lot to publish and distribute the magazine and yes i know its all done on a voluntary basis but with the CFA's annual income surely it doesnt all go on producing King Pole?
Could'nt some of that money from member subscription go towards new publications and documents for members who want to help reverse local council bans?
The last one i remember was in 1984 called ''circuses love animals'' and some years later the ACP did one called 'the caring circus' and 'say yes to the highest standrds of animal welfare'.

So whats the answer ? Do we sit back and read the cracking reviews (and photos)of foreign shows in King Pole or do we try and save British circuses with animals?

(still no reply from the ACP)
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burt renaolds



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PostSubject: Re: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:56 am

Ivan
Unless I am wrong about this, the ACP now represents the human shows and yet another organisation - The Classical Circus - represent shows with animals? (?)
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roberto



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PostSubject: Re: May 6th General Election and Circuses   Sat May 01, 2010 12:34 am

tom sandow wrote:
Ivan
Unless I am wrong about this, the ACP now represents the human shows and yet another organisation - The Classical Circus - represent shows with animals? (?)

Interesting! What I've seen so far, two type of circus that offer a traditional show, but rapresented by two organizations just to make a distinction between circus with animals and circus without. While thanks to Tom I can add few more infos to my knowledge of british circuses, I'm sure that this distinction doesn't work in favour of the circus itself. Yet, the rules are made to be broken, and it's very hard for someone to stick to them and respect the competition (remeber two years ago between Circus Berlin and Billy Smart's?), I cannot imagine the damage suffered by a circus with a zoo (and less opportunities to find a town wiithout a ban) who sees the few areas available already taken by an all human circus. And it' s easy to think that the ACP, rapresenting the majority of the british circuses, is definetely stronger and more powerfull than the Classical Circus. If I put everything into context, the furure of the 4 circuses with animals is bleak and of course not by an outside political decision, but by the rules in force within the circuses themselves.
I don't see the point to support circuses with animals, yet, considering that the all human shows in the Uk are traditional circuses, we still have to find a way to keep this tradition alive and culturally sound, maybe asking to the various associations which kind of collaboration (or help) we can offer and not only through King Pole Magazine or the CFA.

I suppose that when Philip Astley Had something new in his hands perhaps he didn't realise it was new indeed and didn't know how to call it . Astley's Riding School became the... Anphitheatre a denomination that he had to choose to mark the difference with the real theatres, at that time the Covent Garden and Saddler Well, the only ones, by Royal decision, that could be called "Theatre". Astley went to open an anphitheatre in Paris, but the term referred more to the Roman Circuses (also called anphitheatres) than the true theatres.
Tradition wants that Charles Hughes, contemporary to Astley, opened his own show in competition with Astley itself which he called The Royal Circus, rather to make a difference between his show and Astley's. After all they had the same content.
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