Cirque Du Liban. It might conjure up images of a fun-filled family event, laughter and joy for the young ones, amusement for the older crowd. We tend to enjoy a lot of seemingly simple, wholesome activities without really thinking about what they stand for or how they are maintained.

The scariest part is when a large organization like Cirque Du Liban calls attention to the unethical treatment of animals, promises to stop using them for entertainment, and completely turns around and, well, lies. Izak Abou-Sari, founder and director of Cirque Du Liban recently denounced the use of animals in this way, putting out a statement which read:

“We believe the use of animals in circuses is no longer ethically acceptable and do not use any animals in our work.”

Sounds great. Too bad it didn’t last. Soon after, Cirque Du Liban advertised photos of their events featuring tigers jumping through hoops of fire and poodles wearing human outfits (this is a matter of preference, but I am almost always creeped out when animals are dressed in human clothing) forced to dance and perform - something that is the result of strenuous training. When they're not performing, the animals are confined in cages in unknown conditions.

What kind of message does this send to a larger public which lacks animal cruelty legislation (a welfare law was approved but still has not passed on through parliament)? The fact that Lebanon’s only circus parades animals around and forces them to act for our entertainment belittles rights, wellbeing, and importance in a fair society. Ghandi, Kant, and Dostoyevsky put it well when they remind that humanity can be judged by its treatment of animals. If that’s so, how are we to be judged?

And it gets worse. When you try to comment on Cirque Du Liban’s Facebook page and ask for accountability, you will find that you are soon blocked by the administrator. I have personally posted a couple of questions on their wall, asking why they still use endangered animals in their performances and asking for some kind of accountability. I have seen others posing the same questions, only to be banned from ever posting again.

Does that sound like the action of an organization you should support? An organization you should trust?

I’m not saying we should all go march into their headquarters with burning torches, but I am suggesting that entertainment organizations like this should be held accountable for the promises they make, especially when it comes to the unethical treatment of any type of life.

So drown their page and phones with questions and force them to respond. Share your concern and make this story visible. Animals Lebanon suggests contacting the organization directly and politely asking them to adhere to their pledge. To do so, you can use the following contact information:

Call: 03 011515 and 03 017859

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