“Ordinary hype and a lot of lies,” this is how Edgard Zapashny, People’s Artist of Russia, General Director of the Bolshoi Circus on Vernadsky Avenue, described the initiative of the New People faction to ban animals in circuses. The bill developed by the deputies was immediately met with hostility by both representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the professional circus community.
In a live broadcast of “MK” on Tuesday, Zapashny spoke about why animal training cannot be considered evil, what kind of attacks from radical “animalism” trainers have to face, and why a circus without animals is doomed to failure.
“The very concept of circus, training, is not evil, as zoo radicals say,” said Edgard Zapashny. — Any person who has a pet is a trainer. We still teach a dog or a cat a certain set of rules.
It would not occur to any reasonable person to talk about the need to ban domestic animals. But zoo radicals can do this - if they manage to “abolish” circus predators.
The same logic will work: when the owner puts a muzzle on the dog for the first time, it resists. Why is this not violence against an animal personality? All that remains is to seize the moment and film such a “sadistic” dog breeder.
Zapashny called the idea of banning animal performances in circuses a form of madness and warned: now accusations of cruelty are flying at trainers, tomorrow (if the outcome is successful for the zoo radicals and the adoption of the bill from the “New People”) they will take up arms against farm animals. After all, during milking the cow is also limited in her movements and is forced to stand in a stall with a machine connected to the udder.
— I treat this as ordinary hype. Even the relevant ministries indicated that the deputies do not understand this. They presented information that does not correspond to reality, there are a lot of lies there,” Zapashny emphasized.
For example, Duma members point to a drop in circus attendance, allegedly due to the fact that tigers and lions perform in the arena. They say that if there were no animals, people would be more active. Edgard Zapashny believes that the logic of parliamentarians is at least strange.
“There’s a lot of figures there that are not just incorrect, but numbers invented by some people, and a lot of one-sided, incorrect information.” When deputies from the New People party start talking about numbers: 24% of people are dissatisfied, 48% are dissatisfied... This is said by a party with a five percent level of support in our country,” said the trainer.
Attendance at circuses has nothing to do with animals, Zapashny is sure. Moreover, if animals are removed from circuses today, the entire circus industry in Russia will collapse, says the People's Artist of the Russian Federation.
“I suggest that any deputy who now does not believe my words should simply go to any call center in any of our cities. And sit for an hour in the circus. The first question you will hear is what animals?
Second question: why are there so few of them? You list, you say: in this program there are tigers, lions, horses, parrots. “Is that all?” - "And what else?" “Well, we would like there to be an elephant, a hippopotamus, and a giraffe...” says Edgard Zapashny.
The trainer recalled that the famous Canadian Circus Du Soleil, which does not have animals, suffered financial collapse several times. Two years ago, the circus' debts exceeded a billion dollars. So, apparently, it’s not about the animals after all.
Zapashny said that because of radical social activists, circus figures regularly have to fend off various attacks.
“My brother and I used to be bullied: it’s like beating a tiger so that it jumps into the fire.” This started to work until we very clearly explained an ordinary thing: a tiger jumps into fire because he doesn’t know what fire is, he has never been burned in his life,” Zapashny said.
Another “argument” from zoo radicals sounds like this: “circus animals are forcibly taken from the wild.” This happens, but extremely rarely and only when the animal needs to be saved, explained Edgard Zapashny.
For example, the other day a wounded tiger with a partially amputated paw from the Khabarovsk Territory was taken to the Moscow Zoo. In its natural habitat, such an animal would be doomed to death either from hunger or from the fangs of its own relatives, for whom it would become easy prey.
— It turns out that according to the logic of the deputies, the Moscow Circus committed an evil act by taking such a tiger? — Zapashny was surprised and added: “Not only do circuses not forcibly remove predators from nature, but, on the contrary, they can work to restore the populations of endangered species.”
“If we are given the task of giving birth to 50 tiger cubs a year, we will exceed this plan,” the trainer assured.
Hype and a lot of lies