GB No. 8, summer 1992
For the first time in Poland, may be in East Europe, representatives of municipal authorities have decided to assume official attitude towards taming of wild animals. Specially called upon to it by councilors the board, which representatives of Bielsko-Biała authorities and members of "GAJA" Club have belonged to, have prepared a substance of a letter sent to the Seym of Republic of Poland and to local parliamentarians. The letter has included suggestion to change the present law referred to cultural activity. As the rules of the law make it impossible to institute a local prohibition of entry for circuses with taming of animals, proposed by "GAJA" Club. Here is the excerpt of councilors attitude:
"There aren't "good" circuses, because it is in their nature, they can't secure biologically necessary conditions and manners of life for animals".
This way the work at the problem of taming of animals in circuses, which had been taking for one and half years in Bielsko, came to the end just now.
Perhaps it will be interesting to remind of our several prior actions.
In January 1991 happening close to the Soviet Circus, banners, masks of animals and especially prepared leaflets allowed to spread in attractive manner the problem of taming of animals in circuses so as the local press was interested in it, inserting an information about the action. Excerpts of the open letter to the Bielsko-Biała major, with the request to institute a local law making it impossible to perform shows with taming of animals in the town was also inserted.
We wrote in the letter among other things as follows: "As we are insensitive to sufferings of other creatures akin to us, we often agree to torment and ill-treatment of animals under our eyes for the sake of so-called amusement".
Alternative organizations, religious group also foundation and Waldorf's infant school have set their names to the letter.
We have tried to emphasize in our actions exactly the manner in which shows of taming of animals where they must present unnatural functions and behaviours, influence psyche of children seeing them.
A tamer with upraised whip and big but meek lion.
In such a view the best manner of teaching the children respect to every life on earth?
We have also inserted this point in official suggestion to the City Council, because it has appeared that only it may institute the Prohibition postulated by Club. In the suggestion we have also quoted a new Bill regarding prevention of cruelty to animals (this point has been canceled during debate of the Seym of course and the very Act hasn't passed yet) and records of World Declaration of Animals' Rights.
We have also pointed to countries where formal discussion regarding taming had been already entered upon and we have performed alternative proposal i.e. artistic spectacles without use of animals.
Five-days protest in front of "Arena" circus was the most important moment of the action called "Circus is funny, not for animals". From the beginning we demanded a talk to manager of circus and tamers - but unsuccessfully. Only a picket of the ring before a show caused we were talked to. Unfortunately management of circus wasn't able to answer a lot of our question but assured us of irreproachable treatment of animals. Local mass media have reported the talk.
After our picket a demeanour of circus staff changed also. One of employeed went out to us and said after a long talk: "I'll tell you that in principle animals aren't chastized but I saw an elephant was struck in his head with a hammer because he didn't want to exercise and then he did everything".
Fame attendant upon action in front of "Arena" circus and interest of press (tens of articles and information were published) caused we were invited to a session of City Council.
At last we were found on proceedings after a lot of trouble. However it issues from the course of session, councilors have been interested only direct introduction of arguments and subsequent discussion. They have decided to create a special board to consider the suggestion, because it has occurred already in the room, that local prohibition would be contrary to prevalent law.
So councilors have decided to propose to the Seym to change present law what is enable to institute local law proposed by "GAJA" Club.
Councilors suggestion ends like this: "We must admit taming of wild animals to be a relict of the past and counteract to it actively, because of ecological crizis of our planet".
THANKS TO all the organizations for sending of materials helpful in our actions.
WE ASK of further substantial and financial assistance for campaign coordinated by "GAJA" Club. We ask you to send us possible financial assistance, note "Circus without animals".
Our address: KLUB "GAJA", P.O. BOX 261, 43-301 BIELSKO BIAŁA 1, POLAND