They recently took the UK airwaves by storm, and now they hope to cast a little gloom towards the cruel circus industry. Britain's Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey – the crowd-pleasing dance team of 17-year-old Ashleigh Butler and her canine sidekick, Pudsey – appear in a hard-hitting new anti-circus ad.
The bleak ad shows a very different side to the usually bubbly duo, as Ashleigh portrays a sombre clown while Pudsey sits next to her dressed as a battered lion. The caption reads, "The Saddest Show on Earth – Get Wild Animals Out of the Circus!" Ashleigh and Pudsey unveiled the ad – in person – in Westminster yesterday.
"I was shocked to learn the full extent of how some animals are treated in the circus and the beatings they endure to perform tricks", says Ashleigh. "Pudsey loves performing, but I find it disgusting that people resort to violence and some of the wild animals suffer for the sake of so-called 'entertainment'."
Unlike Pudsey, animals in circuses are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. As undercover investigations have documented, animals are routinely mistreated behind the scenes. They are shackled and isolated, experience terrible loneliness and are forced to perform degrading and confusing stunts. Although Parliament instructed the government to introduce a ban on wild animals in circuses last summer, the government has continued to drag its heels and allow animals to continue to suffer in circuses. Ashleigh and Pudsey join all major animal welfare groups, veterinary bodies and the majority of the British public in calling for a ban on wild animals in circuses.
This isn't PETA's first connection with Britain's Got Talent. The force behind the show, Simon Cowell, has supported several PETA campaigns, and his image appears on one of PETA US' mobile spay-and-neuter clinics.
To help get wild animals out of the circus, take action here. For more information, visit PETA.org.uk.