Despite the debate in the House of Commons in June that resulted in a motion directing the Government to ban the use of wild animals in circuses before July 2012, recent Ministerial statements have indicated that Defra intend to pursue a licensing system instead.
A few weeks ago, Defra set up a team tasked specifically to address the issue of wild animals in circuses. ADI has met the team and submitted evidence to them, including footage from our latest undercover investigation on the abuse of the elephant Anne who used to travel with Bobby Robert’s Circus, the report on the investigation of the use of elephants at The Great British Circus in 2009, and the recent legal opinions that ADI received from leading parliamentary law experts on the conformity of the ban with the Human Rights Act and the European Services Directive.
The Defra team advised ADI that they are working under a tight timescale with a view to launching a new public consultation by early next year and the regulation proposals to then be sent to Parliament by summer 2012, before the recess. The team is receiving further legal advice in response to the ‘legal obstacles’ cited by Minister Jim Paice after the debate and then will look at the different options available.
ADI will continue to liaise with Defra and work with politicians and other stakeholders to ensure that the ban on the use of wild animals in circuses is in place by 2012.
Action call: Please keep up the pressure and write to Defra to urge the Minister to implement a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses without further delay.