Animal groups work together to stop circus suffering in Britain
ADI, Animal Aid, British Veterinary Association, CAPS, Four Paws, One Kind, PETA, RSPCA and World Animal Protection have joined forces to call on the Prime Minister to end the suffering of wild animals in British circuses by supporting the new bill being introduced on September 3rd by Jim Fitzpatrick MP which seeks to end such acts ahead of the General Election.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister, spearheaded by ADI, the groups “call on the Government to support the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill….and ensure that sufficient time is made available for the provisions in the Bill to become law.” It concludes “In light of the Government’s renewed commitment on this issue, as well as your personal support, we hope that this Bill can be given the chance to become law ahead of the General Election, ensuring that the planned implementation date of 1 December 2015 is met.”
ADI President Jan Creamer, who is presently overseeing a rescue mission of wild circus animals in Peru following that country’s ban, said: “A ban on the use of wild animals in circuses is, as you would expect, widely supported by animal groups like ADI who wish to see an end to the suffering. The Prime Minister promised action and we hope he will give this new bill his full support, to enable legislation to be passed ahead of the election. It’s time for the Government to come good on its promise.”
The Government has repeatedly pledged to ban the use of wild animals in circuses since it announced it would prohibit such acts in 2012. The Government and Prime Minister claim to remain committed to the wild animal circus ban despite its omission from the Queen’s Speech. In April, the Prime Minister gave his word to an ADI deputation that “We’re going to do it” and in response to a joint letter presented by ADI and 75 celebrity supporters and MPs, David Cameron recently reiterated his commitment to ban what he calls an “outdated practice” in a personal letter to ADI.
The open letter to David Cameron from the nine organisations reminds the government that its own draft bill has been published and has already been reviewed by a Select Committee of MPs. Progress on the bill has however stalled, prompting the introduction of the new bill. The Government’s own draft legislation notes “There is little or no educational, conservational, research or economic benefit derived from wild animals in travelling circuses that might justify their use and the loss of their ability to behave naturally as a wild animal.”
A delay in bringing in a ban has, as feared, seen the number of wild animal acts increase and the return of performing lions and tigers to Britain. Speaking out after the release of ADI footage of large cats touring with Peter Jolly’s Circus, one of just two circuses left with wild animal acts, wildlife vet Simon Adams stated “the limited space available in a travelling circus is unsuitable to big cats, as patrolling their large territories in the wild is an essential behavioural drive, thwarted by the limited confines of circus accommodation, no matter how hard the circus may try to accommodate them.”
Public support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses has been consistently high for 15 years, with a Defra public consultation showing a resounding 94% of respondents supporting a ban on such acts.
27 countries worldwide have placed national restrictions on the use of animals in circuses, and over 200 local authorities in Britain have bans on the use of animals in circuses in place.