‘Cruel’ – that’s how one of the ‘attractions’ at this year’s Sioe Sir Fôn – Anglesey Show was described by locals and an animal rights organisation.
About 50,000 people were expected to visit the show over two days between August 9 and 10. The show had been suspended for two years due to Covid-19.
At the show site near Gwalchmai, it was possible to see and touch giant turtles that usually inhabit the white sand beaches of the Indian Ocean.
Helen McGreary of Porthaethwy, Ynys Môn, said to our sisterhood, Corgi Cymruthat treating wild giant tortoises as an attraction was “immoral”.
“I think it’s cruel to trap wild animals like that,” she said.
“If the organizers of Sioe Môn had thought about this, they might not have let them come. A lot of people have very strong feelings about things like this – public opinion has changed with time.”
Ms McGreary said she didn’t think for a minute that the show’s organizers were “bad people”.
“They didn’t think about it properly and I’m terribly disappointed that they let the poor turtles be an attraction on the show. I really hope they’re not here next year,” he said. she stated.
Giant tortoises can live up to 100 years.
“Think about having to live like this out of your habitat,” Ms McGreary said.
“It’s terrible, isn’t it? They’re kept in cages, made to travel across the country for what? For people to pet them.”
The turtles are owned by a man named Adrian Graham, from Heckington in Lincolnshire. Corgi Cymru understands that Mr. Graham contacted the show and paid to take the animals there.
According to the AA, it is a circuit of more than eight hours, a total of about 440 miles from Mr Graham’s address to the fairgrounds and back. It is understood that he has taken the giant tortoises to several shows and fairs over the years.
Kate Werner, senior campaign manager for animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), said:
“Leave the turtles alone. They are individuals with thoughts, worries and feelings, not toys. These sentient beings should live in peace on the white sands of the Aldabra Islands, not confined to an enclosure and used as a petting zoo attraction to promote a country show.
“Animals used in traveling exhibits are moved around in cramped transport cages, subjected to loud noises that confuse and frighten them, and handled, petted and pushed by humans,” Ms Werner said.
“Parents should note that pathologists call traveling animal shows hotbeds of communicable disease, and most turtles carry a host of bacteria on their shells and skin – including Salmonella – which are harmless to turtles, but not for humans (especially children).
“According to health and safety directorinfections can be spread even through indirect contact with animals, and in some cases the resulting illness can be fatal.
“PETA urges visitors to the Anglesey County Fair to oppose and avoid this cruel attraction and any other outdated live animal exhibits.”
The Wild Animals and Circuses (Wales) Act makes it an offense to use wild animals in a traveling circus, but not as entertainment elsewhere.
We asked the Welsh Government if they are considering extending the legislation to include wild animals that are displayed for entertainment purposes at other venues, such as agricultural shows and fairs?
A Welsh Government spokesperson said:
Our Animal Welfare Plan for Wales 2021-2026 outlines our proposals, which include the development of a national animal welfare regulatory model, the introduction of a registration process for organizations animal welfare, those who breed animals commercially for pets or for shooting, and animal shows, to ensure high standards are met, rather than a ban.”
“The show organizers are responsible for the shows and events within the show, and if a member of the public has any concerns about the welfare of an animal, they should inform the relevant local authority.”
Corgi Cymru asked Council Ynys Môn for information and a response to the above comments and complaints. A council spokesperson said in a statement:
Sioe Môn is not a circus within the meaning of the Wild Animals and Circuses (Wales) Act 2020 and turtles are not defined as dangerous wild animals. Therefore, there is no need for a license and there are no restrictions on showing private animals of this type.
“Public Protection Officers visited the Show on the first day of the Show (08.08.22) and 08.09.22. The show set-up and conditions were found to be acceptable in both cases. , verbal discussions were held between Department of Public Protection officers and the owner a week before the show to discuss infection control and animal welfare.
“Regarding the cage, public protection officers saw, and they confirmed, that a welfare trailer was available for the animals to transport. The trailer was also available for the animals during the show.
“It is recognized that reptiles can be a source of Salmonella. The primary control measure needed at experiential demonstrations (kids farms, etc.) is to ensure that adequate hand washing facilities are available. These facilities were requested and provided were checked by officers during their visit Hand sanitizer was also available.
“The council of Ynys Môn did not provide a license because it was not necessary to do so.”
Corgi Cymru also asked the Sioe Sir Fôn for an answer.