S4C has responded to complaints by animal rights activists who have condemned the use of animals in one of the Channel’s programmes during the festive period.
The film Y Syrcas (The Circus) is a family film broadcast on Boxing Day at 7.00pm. Set in 1848 it tells the story of a girl enchanted by the adventure of the travelling circus and forms a bond with an elephant.
Y Syrcas is a fFATTI fFILMS production for S4C in association with Aimimage, and the production required transporting two elephants from Germany to the film location in Tregaron, Ceredigion.
In response to the complains by animals rights group Animal Defenders International (ADI), S4C's Director of Content, Dafydd Rhys said:
"At all times during this project the welfare of the animals involved was prioritised.
"In accordance with S4C's requirements, expert advice was taken in order to ensure the elephants' welfare.
"According to the advice received, due to their social nature as herd animals, elephants are happier when with other elephants, which is why the producers agreed to bring in a pair of elephants for the duration of the filming, when in fact only one was needed.
"During the entire duration of the elephants’ stay with the production, a zoological vet was present who constantly monitored their well-being and offered advice accordingly.
"Following assurances from the production company, we can be very confident that the welfare of the elephants was an absolute priority during the filming of this very special production."