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Written Answers - Circus Animals

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 422.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  if he will provide details of animals by species, imported into Ireland for use in circuses here in each of the past three years; their countries of origin; from whom they were acquired; the powers he has in relation to the use of animals in circuses and inspection of these animals; the number of inspections of animals in circuses since 2006; the findings arising therefrom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24135/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The movement of circuses within the EU is governed by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1739/2005 of 21 October 2005 which lays down animal health requirements for the movement of circus animals and animal acts between EU Member States. In order to help prevent the spread of animal disease, before moving to any other Member State, all circuses with animals and all animal acts must be registered with the relevant authority (in Ireland the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) and must comply with certain conditions. These conditions require that the animals are clinically healthy, that the place of departure is not subject to any animal health restrictions and that all testing and vaccination requirements are met. The species covered by this legislation are all mammals (including bats), birds, bees, salmon and trout. Registered circuses/circus acts require a Register of Animals, Animal Passports and a Venue Register. All movements must be notified by the exporting country on a movement system (TRACES).The TRACES system shows that five large circus elephants were imported from France in January 2012. No imports took place in 2010 or 2011.

Inspections of circuses come within the remit of the local authorities and the information sought by the Deputy in this regard is not available to me.

The main statutes governing cruelty to all animals, including circus animals, are the Protection of Animals Act 1911 and the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act, 1965. Responsibility for enforcing this legislation rests with an Garda Síochána. The Programme for Government 2011 contains a commitment to strengthen legislation relating to the welfare of all animals. The main vehicle to fulfil this commitment will be the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which recently had its second stage in the Seanad

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