Jay Kay slams 'Big Brother' circus show

Friday, April 07, 2006

"I don't like to see animals doing tricks for human entertainment, it's exploiting their intelligence and it seems apparent that they are not happy" - Jay Kay, Jamiroquai

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Two major 'Celebrity Circus' sponsors pull out

The major sponsor behind Endemol’s latest reality TV show, real estate giant RE/MAX International, has just cancelled its sponsorship of the celebrity circus programme following ADI and local group ANIMAL´s protests and appeals. The company said that it did not realise what it was sponsoring at first, but it is now dropping its sponsorship of the new show which features celebrities working with circus animals.

Second sponsor, Tuna company Cofaco, has also dropped its sponsorship to celebrity circus.

ADI has learnt that when the pilot was first aired on Portuguese TV, the animals in the programme looked scared and nervous. Elephants, horses and lions displayed obvious signs of anxiety. Circus owner, Victor Hugo Cardinali, threatened the lions with his whip and a pole but could not overtly hit them in front of the cameras, sending mixed messages to the animals. Getting little response, Victor Hugo became more and more agitated and screamed and threatened the lions with his whip and jabbed them with the pole to make them perform. The presenter of the show Julia Pinheiro, commented how one of the lions had urinated – out of fear.

From Big Brother to the Big Top

Film production giant behind the ‘Big Brother’ show is being called on to drop a celebrity reality TV show set in a circus, which was screened on Sunday, 19 March 2006. The show from Endemol features celebrities performing with animals in Circo Victor Hugo Cardinali, the largest animal circus in Portugal.

EastEnders TV star Peter Polycarpou has been quick to condemn the new show: "I thought reality TV had hit rock bottom but I was wrong. The new benchmark for bad taste is a reality TV circus show. For anyone to be in any doubt that circus animals are mistreated and abused on a daily basis in order to train and subdue them is to be out of touch with reality. Any celebrity who does not know this is refusing to face reality."

Campaigners are particularly horrified that the producers are using Circo Victor Hugo Cardinalli. Last year Animal Defenders International filmed inside 11 Portuguese circuses. During one show, owner Victor Hugo Cardinali was filmed jabbing a performing elephant in the face with a metal spike more than 20 times to force it to perform a trick on a pedestal. The clip can be seen on the ADI website at http://www.ad-international.org/media_centre/videos.php?g=1&page=2.