A wild sea lion. SaraYeomans via Flickr/Creative Commmons

Duffy's Circus brands criticism of their use of sea lions as "misleading and hurtful"

The circus has said that they treat their animals’ welfare as a “top priority”.

TOM DUFFY’S CIRCUS has hit out at criticism from an animal welfare charity that their use of sea lions in live shows is “cruel”.

The ISPCA said it was “shocked and disappointed” to hear that the animals will be used in shows this year, saying that circuses cannot provide ‘appropriate conditions’ to guarantee the well-being of animals, “especially social species like sea lions”.

“The circus is no place for them and it is simply not possible to provide a suitable environment for sea lions in a travelling circus,” a statement read.

However, the circus has called the accusations “misleading and hurtful”, saying that the welfare of their performance animals is a top priority.

Irish zoos

They say that standards in Irish zoos are far above those in other countries.

“We are alarmed that an organisation such as the ISPCA that collects money from the public under the guise of animal welfare is supporting animal rights activists,” Managing Director David Duffy said in a statement.

Every right-minded person believes in animal welfare, but for the ISPCA to support claims that our animals suffer is misleading the public and has offended our dedicated team of specialist animal carers.

He noted that Tom Duffy’s Circus has never been found to abusing or mistreating animals, and that the the charity is free to visit without notice.

“Rarely visit”

“The ISPCA rarely visit – less than one visit per year”, he added.

The charity’s CEO Dr Andrew Kelly has called for Ireland to follow England and Wales by bringing in a ban on using animals in shows.

“Forcing wild animals to perform unnatural behaviours for human entertainment is cruel, out-dated and should be consigned to the history books,” he said.

Read: Over 3,000 horses seized over welfare concerns last year >

Watch: This dancing sea lion LOVES the Backstreet Boys >

In photos: Californian sea lion pup born at Dublin Zoo >

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