One of the UAE’s largest ticket sellers is considering cutting ties with a circus show that features lions in the wake of bad publicity about the event.
Platinumlist.net told The National it is looking into "contract exit clauses with the organiser," following a request for a comment about its promotion of the show.
“We also feel that it is completely unethical and cruel to use animals in circus performances,” the company said in a statement.
The Latino Circus, which proudly boasts that it features "white lions direct from Africa", will be stationed at Last Exit D89 Al Khawaneej until December 21.
Ticket seller Platinumlist was one of several companies that attracted criticism about their involvement in the show.
However, news that it may now stop selling tickets for the event has been welcomed by protesters.
Samantha Robins, who posted about the circus on several Facebook groups to alert people about the event’s use of wild animals, said she would be “over the moon” if Platinumlist abandons its support of the event.
“It just shows you how social media can do good when it’s needed,” said Ms Robins, 33, from the UK.
“Wild animals are entirely different to domestic pets — you can’t make them sit by giving them a biscuit. They [the circus] break the animal's spirit through torture and abuse and they spend their lives transported from venue to venue in cages.”
She also said it is "ignorant" to assume animals are well cared for when circus goers cannot see how they are trained.
Animal rights groups agree, claiming circus animals are regularly subjected to excessive and abusive methods to force them to perform tricks.
"Elephants, tigers and other animals that circuses use to entertain audiences do not stand on their heads, jump through hoops, or balance on pedestals because they want to,” said global animal rights organisation Peta in a statement on its website regarding the use of wild animals in circuses.
“They perform these and other difficult tricks because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t."
Teddy Aouad, exhibition manager of circus operator Eventoh, on Monday also sought to stress that the animals are kept in humane conditions."
"Our animals were born in captivity so no-way they will survive in the jungle," he said.
"Our animals are very well cared of. They get a visit from a veterinary every week. They have enough space to play, they are not transported in small cages at all and their containers are air conditioned 24 hours a day.
"And we train the animals to do tricks by giving them treats and not by beating them."
A spokesperson for Meraas, which runs Last Exit, and has faced criticism for hosting the event, said on Sunday that the circus meets international standards for the care of animals.