Stop Circus Suffering

Circus regulations progress to the House of Commons following approval by Lords, despite concerns

The House of Lords has approved regulations on the use of wild animals in circuses

GBC elephant

The House of Lords has approved regulations on the use of wild animals in circuses, following Wednesday’s Grand Committee debate, despite concerns raised by peers including Lord Knight of Weymouth and Baroness Parminster, who said that “the majority view among the welfare organisations and indeed the veterinary profession is that adequate regulations cannot be put in place to guarantee the welfare of wild animals used in travelling circuses”.

Responding to accusations of procrastination on its promised wild animal circus ban, Lord De Mauley responded that “we expect to be able to publish draft legislation for pre-legislative scrutiny this session”. He added that the seven-year duration of the regulations would not conflict with the timescale of a ban stating that it would not “prevent the licensing regulations becoming redundant earlier”.

The regulations will next be discussed in the House of Commons by the First Delegated Legislation Committee chaired by Jim Sheridan MP on Monday 29th October at 4.30pm.

To support the draft legislation on licensing, the government has produced guidance for circus operators but this document is flawed with gaping holes in key welfare considerations. For example the document does not cover some species which are currently touring with circuses; of five groups of species, guidelines concerning the display, training and performance are only given for one group of species; and there is no restriction on breeding, which could mean that the number of animals in circuses increases.

ADI is disappointed that legislation to license the use of wild animals in circuses is pressing ahead and wonders why the government is continuing to waste taxpayers’ money and parliamentary time to push through regulations which will not prevent animal suffering, when it has pledged to introduce a ban. It goes against the will of parliament and the public and simply beggars belief.

We believe that the regulations are unworkable, ineffective and will not safeguard the welfare of wild animals in circuses. For example, licensing would not have prevented the terrible violence inflicted on Anne the elephant at the winter quarters of Bobby Roberts Super Circus in 2011 nor the suffering of the three elephants that toured with the Great British Circus in 2009.

Take action!

  • Please contact Lord de Mauley, the Defra Minister responsible, asking him to scrap unworkable plans to regulate and press ahead with the wild animal circus ban that was promised in March.
  • Ask your MP to push for the licensing scheme to be scrapped and for the ban to be implemented ASAP. You can find out who your MP is and email them here.
  • Support our Stop Circus Suffering campaign – make a donation

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