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Animal rights group decries “devastating” condition of circus animals in Granada

The Roma Dola traveling troupe is accused of keeping a hippopotamus permanently in the sun, failing to care for two camels or help a duck with two broken wings

The circus hippo lying in the sun in Salar (Granada).
The circus hippo lying in the sun in Salar (Granada).

The Granada Federation of Animal Protection Associations (Fegrapa) has denounced the “devastating” condition of animals in the Roma Dola Circus, a traveling troupe that is currently touring municipalities in Spain’s Granada province.

After receiving a report of animal cruelty from a resident in Salar, where the circus had set up, members of the group traveled to the municipality on Saturday to assess the animals’ state of health. The federation concluded that they were suffering from “physical, mental and etiological abuse,” according to a message posted on Facebook.

The hippo had “flaky and cracked skin” and “a sad expression, as if asking for mercy”

Fegrapa found a duck with two fractured wings that had been poorly cared for, leading to “deformations,” two neglected camels with hardly any teeth that had been left in squalor, ponies covered with grime and insects, and lions moving erratically with signs indicative of obsessive-compulsive disorder, in cages measuring barely 1.5 square meters.

The animal-rights organization also found a hippopotamus that was left exposed to the sun, next to a tin tub doubling as a “drinking trough.” According to the group, the animal had “flaky and cracked skin” and “a sad expression, as if asking for mercy.”

The poor conditions of the hippopotamus had already been reported in February in Porcuna (Andalusia) by the Ciudad Real Anti-bullfighting Cultural Association. This group warned that the “circus was set up next to an elementary school and a high school,” when hippos in their natural environment “travel great tracts of land” and spend most of the day “in the water.”

Fegrapa found a duck with two fractured wings that had been poorly cared for, leading to “deformations”

Fegrapa wants the Roma Dola Circus to be fined and stripped of its animal license given the “terrible and depressing” state of the animals. It also accused these types of circuses for “setting up in municipalities for a short time” and often “without a license.” According to the group, these circuses “appear like magic and disappear the same way.” “Children and adults do not know what’s at the bottom of this activity,” they add.

Fegrapa says the Roma Dola Circus was not allowed to operate on municipal land but was able to set up on private property. The circus has performed in the municipalities of Valderubio, Láchar, Chauchina, Cádiar, Cijuela, Casanueva and in Salar. Its next stop will be Loja if authorities do not “put an end to this activity that is degrading and harmful to any municipality that accepts it,” says Fegrapa.

On September 27, the Granada regional government approved an institutional declaration proclaiming the province “free of animal abuse,” according to local media. The initiative was put forward by the left-wing United Left party (IU) and received unanimous support. In April, around 500 towns were added to the list of cities that “have stopped welcoming circuses with wild animals.” Today only four regions in Spain (Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Galicia and Murcia) have legally banned animal circuses.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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