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Investigate Animal Welfare’s Action On Baħar Iċ-Ċagħaq Circus, Activists Urge After Abusive Live Show

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Animal activists are demanding an investigation into the action taken by the Animal Welfare Directorate following the “catapulting” of a live animal during a circus act in Malta.

“We would like to ask: what is the point of having animal welfare laws?” Animal Liberation Malta said following Lovin Malta’s report on a duck that had been injured during a live commercial show being returned to its abusive owner after police had confiscated it.

The decision to return the duck, which was injured in its upper neck and head after being “catapulted onto a hard surface” was taken by Animal Welfare executives.

“Rather than being given back the animal, should we be seeing legal action being taken against the operators?” 

“This comes after the Office of the Commissioner for Animal Welfare is asking for people who are ready to testify and after the Parliamentary Secretary spoke out as well.”

“We demand that an investigation is being held by Animal Welfare Commissioner into the action taken by Animal Welfare.”

The incident allegedly occurred at the Cirkelli Circus in Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq on 22nd December, and first came to light after a local content creator, Sarah Grech, attended the show with her boyfriend. Grech has since shared that she will be testifying in court following this incident.

Grech recounted what she saw – a performer pulling out a real duck and throwing it at the crowd repeatedly during the family-friendly show.

‘‘Each time the duck hit the metal stands or the stone floor, it struggled to move before being grabbed and launched into the air again,” Grech recounted, livid at what she saw.

When her boyfriend asked the organiser whether he thought that part of the show was morally right, he allegedly replied with: ‘‘Are you implying that I like to torture animals?’’

Grech called the police to report what she had seen.

Speaking to Lovin Malta, a police spokesperson confirmed that the report had been received – and that the animal in question had been confiscated from the circus and handed over to Animal Welfare.

“A report was lodged on 22nd December upon which the police acted immediately by calling on site and initiated the necessary investigations. The mentioned animal was handed over to the Animal Welfare Services, while the investigations are still ongoing,” police said.

Following the revelations, Animal Commissioner Alison Bezzina has appealed to the public to come forward with any and all footage or testimony from the incident.

Since the story was made public, other people have come forward saying that animals are used in other types of shows, including magician-style shows.

Though the circus displays a “no animals” sign on its website, this incident has cast doubt on how serious that promise is. 

The circus maintains they do not use any animals in their live shows, only using trained actors, and that the duck incident allegedly occurred when an individual actor decided to include the duck in his act as part of a ‘‘surprise’’ allegedly unbeknownst to the rest of the team.

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Johnathan is Editor-in-Chief of Lovin Malta, and an award-winning Maltese journalist interested in social justice, politics, minority issues, music and food. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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