Stop Circus Suffering

Circus Ban Back on the Agenda

Our expose of the horrific abuse of elephants at the Great British Circus puts wild animals in circuses back on the political agenda

Great British Circus elephant abuse

Our expose of the horrific abuse of elephants at the Great British Circus put wild animals in circuses back on the political agenda, leading to a formal public consultation on the issue.

ADI submitted a full response to the consultation providing scientific, political and legal arguments in support of a ban. Then we hit the streets, inviting the public to take part. The response was overwhelming.

We compiled a detailed analysis of the questions, and produced consultation postcards with the consultation’s questions. We brought the consultation to the streets of the nation’s capital, with themed awareness stands and events: from celebrating “The Year of the Tiger” in Chinatown to holding a stall in the Elephant & Castle shopping centre, our themed events took hold of the public’s imagination, and ensured participation throughout London. Public enthusiasm for the issue was inspiring.

After six weeks, the consultation closed on March 15 2010. On the closing date, ADI met with the then Defra minister Jim Fitzpatrick, and presented him with a detailed report on the abuse of the elephants at the Great British Circus.

Defra announced the results for over 10,000 respondents to the Consultation:

  • 5% believe that no species of wild animal are acceptable in circuses
  • 5% support a ban on the use of wild animlas in travelling circuses as the best option to achieve better welfare standards
  • 84& belive that animlas ashuold be re-homed in zoos or sanctuaries
  • 96% think that travelling circuses should be prevented from obtaining further wild animals
  • 5% think inspectors should undertake unannounced inspections of travelling circuses

Minister Fitzpatrick told ADI at the time:

“We are minded to ban wild animals from travelling circuses on the back of the consultation, given the weight of public opinion.

With the evidence we have, we feel it is inappropriate for wild animals to be performing tricks in travelling circuses… we’re very clearly saying as a Labour government that we will legislate against wild animals performing in travelling circuses”

The message from the public was clear, and the evidence was overwhelming: the Labour Government conceded that a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses was the only way to safeguard animal welfare.

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