GB No. 12, winter 1994
"It's a provocation," said the journalists. "This is the same circus you tried to get to stop animal training two years ago. What were you going to say about it? The fact is the situation was clumsy and sad. The local councilor established the opinion that circus animal training should be banned, but the other civil servants have ignored this local law. Only a mess has been left."
The Arena Circus did not have an easy time in Bielsko Biała. Just before showtime the management of the circus found out that they could pay a fine for illegal advertising. Life was made harder by the Sanitary Office and by some animal rights activists. The activists appeared at the circus with the police and the press. This did not exactly make work comfortable for the circus.
The last time the Carpathian Cooperative let the circus take place on the area which belongs to the cooperative, the manager of the circus declared: "What we show is not animal training -- you can call it 'showing of animals.' In Bielsko Biała for the first time I met an organized group of activists, and I'm going to agree with them. We need about 3 to 4 years to eliminate animal training from our program."
That was a very important declaration and a big success. At last the manager of one of the biggest Polish circuses agreed with us! But then we found out that Mr. Anders has been traveling around Poland saying that he has agreed to everything the "Gaja" Club said, and activists from other cities should leave him alone. It is true that we talked, but we got nothing except the manager's promise. Maybe it's time to remind the management of the Arena Circus of their promises when they come to the next town.
At the end of September the owner of the "Shark Show" knocked on the Bielsko gates. This business consists of a couple of aquariums with a few poor sharks in them. The show is designed to entertain small-minded folks. The owner claims that the sharks are making money to help other sharks in an aquarium in Germany somewhere. After he came to the city, the owner of the Shark Show did what he always does. He went to the local Administration Office to go through the necessary formalities. The administration officials made their permission dependent on the agreement of the "Gaja" Club. So one morning the owner appeared in our club office. He tried to tell us how this show is important for the other sharks in the aquarium in Germany, and he offered a bribe.
"No way" is what he heard.
"I know you're having a hard time with the election, with cooperation with administration. I think I will come later," proposed the owner.
"No way, sir," he heard again.
"O.K. It will be like in the other cities. I will show the sharks and you will give out leaflets," the owner said.
"No, sir. We will do everything we can to stop you. If you try to come to this city we will make a blockade at the entrance."
After that statement the owner said: "O.K. There are 500 cities in Poland. I think if I come to 499, that will be enough for me."
We shook hands and the owner said goodbye. And that is the end of the sharks' story in Bielsko Biała.
translation from Zielone Brygady 11/93
by Rafał Chyży