Conservatives and Labour commit to end use of wild animals in circuses
After meetings with party officials and elected representatives, ADI is delighted that the Conservatives and Labour have committed to ending the use of wild animals in circuses while the Greens have pledged to extend the ban to include all animals. The Liberal Democrats and United Kingdom Independence Party have not included a specific pledge in their manifesto, but ADI has met with party representatives.
ADI has time and again exposed the behind-the-scenes abuse of animals in circuses and highlighted how regular transport, cramped and substandard enclosures, forced training and performance, loud noise and crowds are the unavoidable distressing realities for animals in circuses.
The issue has been on the political agenda for many years. In 2009, ADI exposed the abuse of elephants with the Great British Circus and the ensuing outrage led to a Government public consultation in 2010, which saw almost 95% of respondents back a ban on wild animal acts. In 2011, we exposed how Anne, an elderly elephant with Bobby Roberts Super Circus, was kept permanently chained and physically abused, resulting in a cruelty conviction for her owner.
Backbench MPs followed this with a unanimous vote for a wild animal ban and a year later the Government agreed to pass legislation. A Government Bill was drafted in 2013 but simply gathered dust. In recent months, the legislation was presented to Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill by Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick, but was thwarted by a few rogue MPs who blocked it on 12 occasions, despite cross-party and Government support.
Whatever the make-up of the new Government, ADI will work to push for a commitment to introduce legislation in the first Queen’s Speech to ensure that the planned implementation date for a ban, December 2015, can be upheld.
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