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Animal rights activists protest outside circus

Animal rights activists protested against animal cruelty outside the Orfei circus this evening, shouting slogans such as  "Torture... Freedom... Animal circus, animal cruelty."

The group of some 150 walked from  City Gate and walked towards the circus in Floriana accompanied by a small group of policemen. The activity was organised by the Animal Rights Coalition. 

Near the circus, they stood behind barricades, booing at people there - just as they did during a similar protest last year.

TV personality Moira Delia said that although the circus organisers claimed the animals were treated well, the reality was that these animals lived in captivity and had been made to undergo harsh training to go against their natural instincts and perform. This, she said, was cruelty.

She said the coalition wanted the government to step up to its commitment to ensure animal welfare and ban circuses with animals.

Meanwhile, inside the tent, the audience that was mostly made up of children was oblivious to the protest outside and people could be heard cheering and clapping during the performance.

Silvio Zammit, one of the circus organisers, insisted that the animals were not ill treated and animal welfare officers carried out regular inspections.

He said the animals were born in captivity and would not survive a day in the wild.

Those taking part in the protests included Moviment Graffitti, Animal Rights Group, Ananda Marga, Association for Abandoned Animals, Island Sanctuary, Cetfree, Greenhouse, Alternattiva Demokratika Zaghzagh, SOS Animals, St. Francis D'Assisi Foundation, Nature Trust, SPCA (Malta), Centru Tbexbix, Stray Animal Support Group, Street Cat Rescue, Share Malta, Noah's Arc, National Cat Society, International Animal Rescue, World Animal Conscience, Youth for Social Action (University of Malta Junior College) and SDM Junior College.

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