Stop Circus Suffering

Circus inspections reveal multiple failings as MPs consider wild animal ban

Revelations scratch the surface of what circus animals endure

Inspection reports for the two circuses licensed to use wild animals in Britain – and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by ADI – have revealed how issues repeatedly raised by inspectors are not being addressed, highlighting the urgent need for a ban.

The revelations of how circus animals are being failed are sadly not surprising to ADI but we hope this latest evidence, which just scratches the surface of what these animals endure, will quash any doubts about the inevitable suffering and the unnatural lives these animals lead.

The release of the inspection reports comes ahead of the Second Reading of the bill introduced by Jim Fitzpatrick MP to ban wild animals in circuses on Friday 17 October.

The inspections – three at Peter Jolly’s Circus and two at Circus Mondao – took place between October 2013 and August 2014, both whilst the circuses were on tour and at their winter quarters. They revealed the following welfare and animal management issues:

Peter Jolly’s Circus:

  • Three snakes had been allowed to get to an “advanced” state of putrefaction, preventing a post-mortem examination to determine their cause of death. Tests on the remaining snakes identified A Salmonella, Clostridia and E Coli bacteria, with the probable cause of death Clostridial Septicaemia.
  • Despite the circus having been advised to provide water for animals in the pre-performance holding area, this has repeatedly not been provided. Additionally, water for the tigers to bathe in was withheld, denying them the ability to perform this natural behaviour, albeit in a small tub of water.
  • Veterinary records were found to be incomplete for the fox, raccoon and snakes, and vets paperwork was missing for a tuberculosis test for the ankole – a type of African cow. Humidity readings for the snake vivarium were also not recorded. Previously released documents revealed that the dates of birth for 12 of the 15 animals – fox, raccoon, snakes and reindeer – are apparently unknown.
  • Owing in part to the animals being insufficiently trained, inspectors have repeatedly had difficulties reading the big cats’ microchips, leading them to rely on photographs for identification – indeed it was noted that the microchips had not been read since the animals had been acquired.
  • The raccoon’s enclosure size was noted, as previously, as being “only just acceptable”. The largest snake was also unable to fully extend its body and a branch was recommended and fitted in the vivarium to allow the animal to do so.

 Circus Mondao:

  • A camel suffering from a recurring wound on her hock and the reindeer showing signs of ‘significant pruritis’, causing distress and coat loss. A previous inspection found one of the camels had “mange-like legions on both hind legs” and that both of the camels appeared to be infertile.
  • A zebra kept next to a pony, following the death of their companion. Although members of the same biological family, the two are different species with different needs and are unnatural companions.
  • A previous inspection report revealed that the reindeer have been castrated, and so cannot naturally shed their antlers. Hormone injections are administered to encourage them to shed, but these “can incite aggression”. The circus was advised to separate the animals to avoid further fighting.

Politicians have the power to bring about change for wild animals in circuses by supporting the bill to ban wild animals in circuses on Friday. Please urge them to do the right thing by the public and, more importantly, the animals.


  • Urge your MP to back the bill to ban wild animals in circuses at its second reading on Friday 17 October –contact your MP here
  • Sign our petition urging the Prime Minister to back the new bill (you can also do so via the Care2 site)


  1. Julie jones · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a


  2. Paula · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Please ban animals used for entertainment in circuses as they are tortured daily!! This abuse should be illegal and the perpetrators punished!

  3. Elise Geradts · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Stop this suffering and living in captivity!

  4. Lesley Hinde · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Please ban wild animals in circuses.

  5. Josh Lim Guorong · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Please impose an act for animalwellbeing!!! Every law is protecting human or corporate interest. There is no law protecting the animals! The wild animals were hurt and hunted to extinction. Humans were exploiting on them

  6. Yvette Bermudez · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Wild life belongs in the wild. They are born to be free & need to be free. Them being used for entertainment is wrong & unnatural.

  7. Yan Gullen · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    There’s no place for animals in circuses. Times have changed. Please end the suffering for those that are still made to perform. Let’s bring up our children with respect for animals.

  8. ulla pade · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    NO WiLD Animals in Zoo, please

  9. autrey king · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    It is shameful that we keep using and abusing animals for entertainment.

  10. Karen Cobb · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Circus’s are cruel and out dated form of entertainment. There is no need for it any more.

  11. Allison Simpson · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    We need to be more in control of these animals, we need to take them away until they can show all of there paper work and ban all circus animals we need to move with the times and say enough is enough. NO to performing animals.

  12. Pamela Winn · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    The treatment of these animals is inhumane & abusive. This is beyond horrific!! These animals have the right to good lives, not to be held captive for entertainment. They should be returned where they belong, in the wild!

  13. Ana Jokic · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Please stop this torture and somebodys missery cant be our fun

  14. Linda Johnstone · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    It’s so absurd that people feel the need to keep animals in cages.

  15. Tommi Townsend · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Please STOP using wild animals for entertainment – they do not belong in a circus! It is barbaric and cruel…

  16. Mr and Mrs Ashford · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Mr Green.

    This has been dragging on long enough and a ban on animals in circus is long overdue. Animals should not live in tiny travel cages being forced to do unnatural tricks. The majority of the electrate want it banned. Please ensure it is withoiut delay.

    Thank you

  17. bryn mitchell · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    this outrage must be stopped, morally ethically and totally.

  18. Jan Bardill · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Its the 21 century!!! How in this day and age can any compassionate civilsed human being think this ia ok? these beautiful animals should not be humiliated for our entertainment. Shameful and greedy

  19. Katy · 16 October 2014 at 9:26a

    Circus is wrong !!!

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