Stop Circus Suffering

DUP pledge to ban wild animals in circuses in Northern Ireland

Acts with wild animals “belong in a bygone era”

ADI and our Stop Circus Suffering partner ARAN have welcomed a commitment from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to ban wild animals in circuses in Northern Ireland, made in its new policy document Challenging Cruelty which states “such practices belong in a bygone era and have no place in modern society”. The nation’s largest political party, the DUP has committed to supporting a bill to ban such acts in the Northern Ireland Assembly and in the meantime will work with local authorities to prevent circuses with wild animals using public land.

Despite public support for a ban, the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland and its counterparts in Dublin are presently considering a system of regulation for wild animal circuses – a move ADI and ARAN condemn as unworkable, ineffective and one that will not safeguard the welfare of the animals. The DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill has however not ruled out a prohibitive measure, recently stating that she is “very open to the possibility of banning the use of animals in circuses”.

ADI and ARAN have been campaigning to end the suffering of animals in circuses across Northern Ireland, as well as Ireland, for the past 10 years. In that time, a growing number of local authorities have prohibited circuses with wild animals from using public land. In Northern Ireland, many of the bans in place will be affected by upcoming local government reorganisation; ADI and ARAN are working with councils to ensure that their decision to ban such acts remains in place.

Although there are currently no circuses with wild animals based in Northern Ireland, those in the Republic cross the border to tour. One circus – Duffy’s – had a big cat act in its show for years. When the presenter returned to Britain, a sea lion act was introduced attracting criticism for its use of this deep-diving aquatic species. Ireland now has just one big cat act at Courtney Bros, which was brought in from the Great British Circus in Britain where ADI had filmed the tigers being beaten.

Take action!

  • Contact your local candidates ahead of the General Election and ask for their views on a ban on wild animals in circuses. If you need assistance identifying candidates, please contact the ADI office.
  • Make a donation – ADI is securing lasting change for circus animals around the world, help us do more!


  1. Mary Mclaughlin · 17 February 2015 at 2:19a

    Please make it into law to ban Circuses they are a traveling show of cruel treatment to animals kept captive against their will.

  2. Elizabeth Myers · 17 February 2015 at 2:19a

    It is cruel and inhumane to see that animal’s are beaten and then forced to perform in circuses.. It need’s to be banned; once and for all!

  3. marcos · 17 February 2015 at 2:19a

    Stop entertainment with animals, they are not ours to profit or to cage!!!!!!

  4. ilona csatlos-graudins · 17 February 2015 at 2:19a

    Cruel barbaric and very inhumane.morrally wrong.

  5. Natasha · 17 February 2015 at 2:19a

    It’s all well and good people saying its bad and cruel but unfortunately we need numbers to attend the peaceful protest and to spread the education to the younger generation. Also we nee to be constantly writing to put MLA officers, I know it can be tiresome but change needs to happen!

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