London 2012 animals will live on after Opening Ceremony, promises IOC President
Saturday, 21 July 2012
July 21 - International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge claimed he is happy to see live animals in the Olympic Opening Ceremony on July 27 and assured they are being properly looked after and "will not be slaughtered" following the event.
Last month, Opening Ceremony artistic director Danny Boyle revealed that his show at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford would feature real farm animals including 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, 70 sheep and three sheep dogs.
A number of high profile animal rights groups have campaigned against the use of animals at the Opening Ceremony, but Rogge has backed the plans after learning that the animals are being properly treated.
"I know there have been discussions about that," Rogge told insidethegames here.
"I know the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) have been involved and the NGOs were in agreement with the measures being taken.
"That it is important.
"The animals will not be slaughtered.
"They are also trying to find measures to reduce stress, and that's a proof that great care has been taken in the protection of the animals."
Rogge's comments come after Boyle sent a personal, handwritten note to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) founder Ingrid E Newkirk in which he promised to make concessions over the use of live animals in his show.
"I've just caught up with all my correspondence concerning the use of animals in the Opening Ceremony and apologise if you feel you've been dealt with in an inconsiderate way," said the letter from the 55-year-old Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire.
Boyle said that with so many different opinions, it is "impossible" to address all the concerns personally but promised that "genuine care will be taken of the animals", including how they may respond the Stadium environment.
He explained that animals "will feature only in the very beginning of the show during daylight hours and will leave the stadium shortly after the 9 pm start and before any large effects or noisy sequences take place".
He also noted that he had not considered the point raised by Newark in her earlier correspondence about safely retiring the animals after the Ceremony to sanctuaries but concluded that he will now "follow that up vigorously".
July 2012: Boyle offers concessions over live animals at London 2012 Opening Ceremony
June 2012: Pleas to leave animals out of London 2012 Opening Ceremony continue
June 2012: Animal welfare campaigners hit out at plans for livestock in London 2012 Opening Ceremony
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