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What's wrong for the goose....

In the past weeks I’ve taken immense pleasure from the news that the police did not grant the animal circus organisers a license to set up at the Granaries in Floriana.

The news came a few days before my birthday and admittedly it was the best birthday gift ever.

When I heard, I even did a little dance of joy.

I was so thrilled that we were one step closer to having animal circuses banned from Malta once and for all that I didn’t read the whole news story.

But then, once I read the whole story and the reason that was given to withhold the license, my joy developed into a little uncomfortable nudge of injustice.

For a while I managed to let it be, because let’s face it I’m human and at that moment I didn’t care much about the reason behind the decision. As long as it was what I wanted, I didn't care, but, true to my nature, that nudge kept getting stronger and stronger until the lurking in my stomach became pretty unbearable.

Even though I couldn't have wished for anything better, and as pleased as I was with the decision, I didn’t feel at all comfortable with what seemed to be abuse of power.

This is what happened :

In January 2012 circus agent Johann Said had his license application rejected by the Commissioner of Police on the basis that the circus would have had a negative impact on parking availability in Floriana.

Though true, unfortunately, this reason was not deemed good enough by the court.

In the meantime Transport Malta laid out a new policy saying that open spaces in Floriana, including the Granaries, were not to be occupied by circus operators.

Now I can’t imagine how anyone in their right mind thought that this reason was going hold water, but as I said, initially I didn’t quite care because I deeply believe that we should do whatever it takes to stop animal circuses from coming to Malta.

But what’s not good for the goose should not be good for the gander, even if it serves my purpose to a T.

Johann Said, is far from a friend. He’s not even an acquaintance. I don’t like the look of him, and I certainly don’t like what he does.

Clearly he’s also good friends with Silvio Zammit, so I can’t possibly like him any less, but when something is wrong and unjust, it’s wrong and unjust no matter who’s suffering the consequences.

Following the final ‘no’ that was based on the new policy which says that the Granaries are not to be occupied by circus operators, Said filed an appeal before the Administrative Law Review Tribunal and the decision was over-ruled.

Now the police have 20 days to to appeal again but Said sought a reduction of the 20-day appeal period since waiting for all that time would mean that the time when the circus was supposed to be put up would have elapsed.

The Commissioner objected to this, and as a result, despite having had his two appeals upheld, Said is still not being allowed to set up the circus on the parking site at the Granaries.

In the meantime however, he was given a permit to set up in Marsa instead.

Sadly, this not only defeats the purpose of refusing the first and second application, but worsens the conditions of those we’re fighting for - the animals.

Because of this whole saga they were moved around from open pens in Kordin, to being put on display in cages at the Granaries, and have now been moved to Marsa for the show tonight.

There are plenty of verifiable reasons as to why animal circuses should be banned, and the Police should not have to resort to silly arguments to make this happen. Our legislators have the power to do the right thing, to fix this once and for all, and to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

Oh but I forgot, at the moment they’re all way too busy brainwashing their constituents, so we’ll have to wait some more, and more, and more..... 

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