ADI deeply disappointed at omission of circus ban from Queen’s speech
ADI is deeply disappointed that – for the second year in a row – the promised wild animal circus ban has not been included in the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the Government’s legislative priorities for the coming year.
All hope is not lost however as the bill could still be introduced to Parliament – and we will be calling on your help to support efforts to do so in the very near future. Today’s news does however illustrate that, despite professing to be a world leader in animal welfare, Britain is lagging woefully behind other countries. Since pledging to introduce a ban back in 2012, at least SEVEN countries around the world have passed similar legislation.
ADI has led the campaign against the use of animals in circuses for over 15 years and its undercover footage – which has been responsible for securing the only convictions of circus personnel in the UK to date – has shocked and informed the nation, changing public attitudes. Inherent suffering and commonplace violence in the industry has seen the number of circuses with wild animal acts plummet in the same period from 20 to just two.
The brutal violence and constant chaining of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus – captured on film by ADI – led to the conviction of the owner, found guilty of offences under the Animal Welfare Act, and a commitment by the Government in March 2012 to ban wild animals in circuses “at the earliest opportunity”. However, after the publication of the Draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill last April, which includes a proposed implementation date of December 2015, progress has stalled.
To keep up the pressure an ADI delegation, headed by former Conservative MEP and conservationist Stanley Johnson and social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell, delivered a letter to the Prime Minister calling for urgent action to be taken, signed by 75 celebrities and politicians. We spoke in person to David Cameron who reaffirmed his commitment to the ban, stating “we’re going to do it”.
Delays in bringing in the ban have seen the return of big cats to the UK – a lion and tiger act from Ireland presented by Thomas Chipperfield, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield, who was prosecuted for animal cruelty following an ADI exposé in the late 1990s. The animals are forced to perform with Peter Jolly’s Circus, one of only two circuses still touring with wild animals in England, and the only act of its kind in the country.