Hanine El Mir
Cirque du Liban was planning a dolphin show as their annual summer event, after being inactive throughout all of 2016. The “Greatest Dolphin Show,” as it was referred to on their poster, was supposed to take place in under three months, starting June 22, 2017.
Cirque du Liban is a “company providing high quality artistic entertainment,” according to the description on their website. Since 2009, the company has set as a goal to produce events on a yearly basis.
Although the circus company had previously signed a written statement with the NGO Animals Lebanon, promising to never use endangered animals in their shows, their previous show in 2015, “Dragon Show,” also included wildlife animals.
“We believe the use of animals in circuses is no longer ethically acceptable and do not use any animals in our work,” Izak Abou-Sari, founder and director of Cirque Du Liban, had previously said in 2011.
The “Greatest Dolphin Show” event’s tickets were originally meant to be sold on the Virgin Ticketing Box Office website, as well as through calling the circus company. The event was taken down from the website earlier last week and is no longer on the Cirque du Liban’s online calendar.
As per the claims of the admins on “Against Animals in Entertainment,” Cirque du Liban deleted the people’s complaints and comments on their post announcing the show, which was posted on March 21.
Animals Lebanon announced on April 7 that the event might have been cancelled, or at least postponed until further notice. They also acknowledged that the efforts of activists are what put pressure on the circus company to halt its work.
On April 10, Lebanese blogger Gino Raidy published a post on his website stating that the show has been cancelled. When contacted, Cirque du Liban said this was due to “difficulties.”
Construction of the circus tents was also cut short. The stage was set to be built in the area facing Forum de Beyrouth, in Dora, where most of Cirque du Liban’s shows have taken place since 2005.
Moreover, a Facebook page, “Against Animals in Entertainment,” had earlier called for the boycotting of the event. A petition was also launched alongside the campaign and it was backed by larger animal rights NGOs such as Animals Lebanon and BETA, Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The online petition was launched by Paola Sakr and is addressed to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Justice, as well as Cirque du Liban. It yielded 3487 signatures.
This is an important victory for animal welfare activists worldwide but especially for animals, and the dolphins who escaped their dark fate. Against Animals in Entertainment ended their Facebook statement on the cancellation with “Never stop believing that you can make a difference.”