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Britain's Got Talent: PETA criticises Vardanyan Brothers' former circus for 'animal cruelty'

The animal rights group said the circus must 'get with the times'

Sarah Young
Tuesday 28 May 2019 10:42 BST
The B Positive choir's audition on Britain's Got Talent 2018

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Louise Thomas

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PETA has criticised the circus which one of Britain's Got Talent’s semi-final acts used to work for of animal cruelty.

In April, Armenian act the Vardanyan Brothers impressed the talent show’s judges at the first round of auditions with an act that saw one brother balancing the other on top of his head using the tip of a sword which he held in his mouth.

Now, the brothers, Gevorg and Andranik Vardanyan, have made it through to the semi-finals of Britian’s Got Talent and are set to perform more thrilling stunts for the judges and viewers as the show draws to a close.

In light of their success, animal rights group PETA has revealed that the Vardanyan Brothers used to work for Circus Sochi, which is known for using animals in its acts.

The charity hopes that the brother's ability to showcase a thrilling performance without exploiting animals will encourage the circus to "get with the times and drop the animal acts".

According to PETA director Elisa Allen, Circus Sochi cages bears, "deprives them of everything that's natural and important to them, trains them through violence and fear, and forces them to perform painful and demeaning stunts".

In response to PETA’s claims, a source close to the Vardanyan Brothers tells The Independent that the duo would "never condone cruelty to animals and are against the abuse or neglect of any animal".

"They’d hate for anyone to think otherwise, " the source explains.

"Simon is a huge supporter of animal welfare and also supports PETA, he would never put an act through if he was aware there was any suggestion of animal cruelty."

Britain’s Got Talent has also issued a statement in which it refutes any claims that the Vardanyan Brothers have performed in acts that involve the abuse of animals.

Britain’s Got Talent is completely and totally committed to the highest standards of animal welfare,” a spokesperson for the show tells The Independent.

"The Vardanyan Brothers have assured production staff that they have never taken part in an act that has mistreated animals."

Speaking previously on the talent show, the Vardanyan Brothers said that their acts are not designed to “instil fear” but to show that they are “dedicated performers who train hard”.

During the first of the Britain's Got Talent's semi-finals on Monday night, the judges sent through two finalists to the finale which airs on 2 June.

Dave & Finn – a heroic police dog and the handler whose life he saved – were automatically given a spot in the finals after receiving the most public votes on the night, while the judges also selected the Flakefleet Primary School choir to go up against eight other acts.

Earlier this month, PETA called on toy producer Playmobil to launch a “My First Abattoir” set in order to show children the realities of dairy farming.

The animal rights organisation urged Playmobil to remove its seemingly happy-looking animal figures from its “Country Large Farm” toy set as they believe they “misrepresent the reality of life for farmed animals, who endure suffering and violence”.

After it received no response from the toy producer, the charity proposed a new toy set which includes an abattoir and figurines of dead cows in order to show children how cows are really treated in the dairy industry.

Britain's Got Talent airs tonight on ITV at 7.30pm with results at 9pm.

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