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THE ROSE-TINTED MENAGERIE

Reviews

‘…nothing in nature can quite match the wilful viciousness, manipulation and self-aggrandisement displayed by the human mammals who run The Rose-Tinted Menagerie. The setting for William Johnson’s angry book is a small and specialised one: the world of circuses, menageries, safari parks and dolphinaria; of animals as entertainment. But because the animal show is, literally, a dramatisation of our superiority over the animal kingdom, an enactment of little parables of mastery and servitude, it is also a microcosm of our whole relationship with nature…’ — Richard Mabey, The Independent on Sunday

‘As a professional zoologist I have become increasingly uneasy about the way our species has been treating the other animals with which we share this small planet. Despite our greater understanding of the behaviour and needs of animals, there are many areas in which there has been remarkably little reduction in their exploitation and persecution. One such area is that of the performing animal, and it is this topic that William Johnson has been investigating with painstaking attention to detail. His report on the modern menagerie should be read by anyone who cares about the welfare of animals…’ — Dr. Desmond Morris

‘What lies behind the “smile” of the dolphin – the glitter and razzmatazz of the circus ring – the confident domination of the ring master over wild and snarling beasts? Are circuses in the twentieth century any different from their originals in Roman times, or is it only the lives of their animal participants that are expendable today – whereas in Roman times both humans and animals went into the melting pot? By the time you have finished The Rose-Tinted Menagerie you will have no illusions left. According to this book you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of circus and dolphinarium managers who actually consider their animals as anything other than a means by which to make money. So much merchandise. If they die, catch another, buy another. So much for the care and concern many people still believe is part of the animal-keeping scene… William Johnson has revealed a tarnished and tawdry state of affairs under the Big Top and carries the argument for the abolition of wild animals in circuses to a point where it can no longer be silenced with the cry of “tradition – the circus is part of our heritage”. Children down the mines and slavery were as well.’ — Virginia McKenna

‘The Rose-Tinted Menagerie by William Johnson, an outstanding investigation, with photographs, of the historical use of animals in circuses, shows, advertising and films. Uncomfortable but invaluable…’ — Naomi Lewis, Books of the Year, The Observer

‘Before the publication of William Johnson’s book, the animal rights movement’s case against training other animals to entertain human beings was made in abstract theory. The great merit of Johnson’s book is that he makes the case in concrete fact. No slightly compassionate person who reads this book, will continue to applaud or be indifferent to “performing animals”. A ground-breaking work… of great importance. Johnson’s historically unparalleled brief will hasten the demise of a tradition that continues to survive only because of human ignorance and indifference.’ — Tom Regan, BBC Wildlife Magazine

‘Startling revelations in this unique exposé of an industry which has for many years exploited animals in captivity for public entertainment and profit. Thoroughly recommended.’ — Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

‘…Undercover investigator William Johnson spent five years piecing together the chilling catalogue of cruelty. The shocking findings are contained in a book to be published this week. Mr. Johnson tells of:

  • Elephants being battered with sledgehammers to make them behave during circus training.
  • Dolphins surviving for less than two years because they are kept in cramped performance pools.
  • Bears so maddened by confinement in tiny cages that they spend they lives sedated by powerful drugs.
  • Chimpanzees shipped off for cosmetics testing after their circus trainer suddenly died.

Research for the book The Rose-Tinted Menagerie (Heretic Books) took him to animal shows across Europe…’ — Sunday Mercury

‘…Walk into any bookshop and you will find numerous books offering an insight into whales and dolphins. They are normally full of glossy photographs containing details which cover most of the points anyone interested in these magnificent creatures would wish to know. Now try to find a book which describes the sordid side of an industry and details the exploitation of animals in captivity for public entertainment and profit. Until now such a book did not exist. What this author has achieved, in gleaning information from those involved in the industry and then turning it into a fascinating book should be applauded. It must have been an investigative journalist’s nightmare…’ — Sonar

‘Wanton jugglers of life, smooth dissemblers of cruelty: how else can one view the owners and promoters of modern circuses and dolphinaria after reading William Johnson’s new book, The Rose-Tinted Menagerie? It reads like a novel – its content sensational, but its scholarship impeccable. The author has spent five painstaking years piecing together a catalogue of barbarity which will shock and sicken millions of people who for years have unwittingly enjoyed the performances of captive animals…’ — Sadruddin Aga Khan, Bellerive Foundation Newsletter

‘A powerful condemnation of an international performing animal business still based on cruelty and deprivation…’ — The Animal Welfare Handbook

‘A new book revealed yesterday that between 1974 and 1988, 84 killer whales were captured off Iceland and sold as performing animals – 19 to Canada and the USA. Most have died, several from frostbite because the water in their pools was too cold. William Johnson, author of The Rose-Tinted Menagerie, claims that hundreds of animals and dolphins are secretly suffering a living hell in circuses and pools across Europe. Many were snatched from their families and exported illegally – victims of the £800 million black market trade in rare species.’ — Today

‘A book launched yesterday claims dolphins and whales suffer cruelty in and depression in captivity. And circus animals are beaten to make them perform tricks. The author of The Rose-Tinted Menagerie, William Johnson, says not one of Britain’s three remaining dolphinaria will meet Government regulations on pool size and conditions, due in 1993…’ — Daily Express

‘Prince Sadruddin, the Aga Khan’s uncle has joined Prince Phillip in expressing concern about conditions at Windsor Safari Park. Speaking at the Royal Geographical Society the other day, he warmly praised William Johnson’s new book The Rose-Tinted Menagerie, which refers to the Windsor Dolphinarium as “the cruellest dolphinarium in Britain…”’ — London Evening Standard

‘…A chilling new book exposes how animals are caged, chained, starved and tortured… just for our entertainment. The Rose-Tinted Menagerie is the result of five years’ undercover work by investigative journalist William Johnson. It goes behind the scenes at circuses and dolphinariums worldwide revealing a cruel catalogue of animals destined to exist usually short, pathetic lives at the mercy of man…’ — Daily Star

‘[Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s] private think-tank, the Bellerive Foundation provided research funds for the book The Rose-Tinted Menagerie by William Johnson, launched this week in the UK and shortly in Italy, France and Germany. The Prince hopes that it will change people’s thinking. He said: ‘It aims to bring home the bloodstained reality of the cruelty in zoos and circuses.’ — The European

‘William Johnson [has written] the most extensive exposé yet of cruelty in circuses and dolphinaria around the world [in] The Rose-Tinted Menagerie.’ — Matthew Gwyther, Observer Magazine

‘This is a most important book. Although much has been written about the cruelty involved in the training of performing animals, perhaps nothing as thorough-going as this book has been seen before. William Johnson has done an extensive international investigation with painstaking detail of the whole circus business…’ — Liberator

‘For those who have always felt an instinctive revulsion for the travelling menagerie, it might not seem altogether surprising that cruelty and deprivation lurks behind all the razzmatazz and glitter of the circus world. But I’m pleased to say that this book is not merely content with recounting in abstract the suffering that these animals must endure in order to provide their human audience with a short-lived thrill. Here, we also see the animals as individuals, and in graphic detail, the shadowy enterprises, dealers and showmen who profit from their exploitation… As a philosophical work that should become of major importance to the conservation movement, The Rose-Tinted Menagerie puts the exploitation of animals in circuses and oceanaria into the much broader context of global environmental destruction and humankind’s ailing relationship with the planet. On a journey through history, we see the evolution of that fearful anthropocentrism which afflicts the human race in our species’ futile quest for supremacy over the Earth. As William Johnson suggests, it is perhaps inevitable that the fragmentation so evident in human society today is the direct legacy of our separation from Mother Earth. Indeed, it may well be surmised that speciesism, coupled with humanity’s unwillingness to perceive the vital inter-relationships which compose the global ecology, has done more damage to the environment than any other single factor… The Rose-Tinted Menagerie is an impressive contribution to the cause of conservation and animal welfare. I very much hope that it will play, as it deserves, a fundamental role in shaping a new ecological awareness.’ — Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan

‘Circuses, dolphinaria and most zoos ought clearly to be abolished – worldwide. Mr. Johnson’s book tells us why and constitutes an important contribution to the growing power of the Animal Rights Movement. I hope it will be widely translated, widely read and achieve great success.’ — Richard Adams

‘The Rose-Tinted Menagerie is an important and seminal work for the animal rights movement; it is well researched, well written, and needs to be read for the important message it conveys.’ — Natural History Book Reviews

‘…a useful, educational, and wonderful book…’ — Ingrid E. Newkirk

‘The Rose-Tinted Menagerie…an outstanding book! A must read if you are on the dolphin trail — like me. I love the book.’Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project

‘One of the most influential anti-captivity books of the last century… This is a timely relaunch of The Rose-Tinted Menagerie, and I would urge anyone who has not read it to do so… Of all the books that inspired me to want to campaign for whales and dolphins this has to be up there as one of the best.’Chris Butler-Stroud, Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society

‘After reading The Rose-Tinted Menagerie, it became apparent that the use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most intelligent species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their benevolence to humans. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves, for displays of humanity.’Cara Sands, Friends of the Dolphins