London is buzzing.
I have heard that phrase so many times over the last few weeks but now I can actually feel it, the sun is finally out, the Olympic volunteers are out in force with their bright pink and purple uniforms, Union Jacks are strung high looking extra patriotic against the beautiful blue sky and tonight is the night. Unfortunately, all of this wonderful, exciting atmosphere has been tainted with the knowledge that over 100 live animals will be used in tonight's opening ceremony which means that they will be exposed to large crowds, loud noise and flashing lights.
When the plans were announced by creator Danny Boyle back in June, animal lovers around the UK were dismayed. Captive Animals' Protection Society immediately set up a petition opposing the use of live animals in the opening ceremony and this gained a huge amount of support (over 63,000 signatures, which is more people than will be attending the opening ceremony).
Leading animal welfare charities wrote to the London 2012 organisers asking them to rethink their plans and highlighted the unnecessary stress that would be caused to the animals (not to mention the unrealistic and misleading portrayal of the British farming industry).
After the petition was delivered to the head of London 2012 committee, Bill Morris, Boyle reassured the concerned parties that genuine care would be taken of the animals and they would be re-homed in sanctuaries after the performance.
Morris has chosen to ignore the plea of over 63,000 people and keep the animals in the opening ceremony. CAPS has branded Morris's response as "shockingly dismissive". To add insult to injury, Morris stated in a letter to Animal Defenders International that the animals will remain in entertainment after being used in the ceremony, which completely refutes Boyle's previous promise.
Boyle has said that he would "vigorously" look into retiring the animals to sanctuaries after the ceremony, please click here in order to contact him reminding him to do everything he can to keep his word and spare the animals used in the ceremony from a life of working within entertainment before eventually ending up in a slaughterhouse.
Tonight the use of animals in the Olympic opening ceremony will go ahead as planned and the world will be watching. CAPS have stated that they will be following the ceremony closely throughout and monitoring the movement of the animals afterwards whilst continuing to raise awareness about the use of animals in entertainment in the future.