The RSPCA claims it was “horrified” by the recent footage of the circus elephant that escaped into a shopping centre car park in County Cork, Ireland – and is particularly concerned by the use of hooks to move her.

The RSPCA claims it was “horrified” by the recent footage of the circus elephant that escaped into a shopping centre car park in County Cork, Ireland.

Amateur footage showing the 40-year-old Asian elephant pacing through a retail car park in Blackpool before charging through a busy junction towards a shopping centre has been circulated widely.

Andrew Kelly, RSPCA’s head of wildlife, said: “This disturbing piece of footage highlights our concerns that wild animals such as elephants are totally unsuited to travelling circus life.
 
“If Baby managed to escape, it seems likely that her environment is simply not meeting her needs.
 
“The footage shows her welfare is clearly at risk and we are particularly concerned about the use of hooks to try and move her.”

Dr Kelly added: “This story is a timely reminder of the plight of wild animals in travelling circuses and the need for a complete ban on the use of these animals.”

The RSPCA has long been campaigning for a complete ban on wild animals in travelling circuses in England, and agrees with public opinion that “dragging wild animals around the country in ‘beastwagons’ to perform unnatural tricks purely for entertainment” is unacceptable.

The RSPCA says it is encouraged by DEFRA’s plans to phase in a ban, but is concerned that no definite date or plans have been set. The charity also claims to have grave concerns about the licensing scheme planned for the meantime.

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