The popular bill to bring an end to the use of wild animals in British circuses – a move promised but not acted upon by Government – has been blocked again by Conservative MP Christopher Chope.
The popular bill to bring an end to the use of wild animals in British circuses – a move promised but not acted upon by Government – has today been blocked, yet again, by Conservative MP Christopher Chope. The latest setback in efforts to pass the legislation announced to media fanfare three years ago comes just 48 hours after an ADI delegation delivered a 20,000-strong petition calling on David Cameron to keep his promise and ensure the ban is passed before the election.
It is both illogical and unbelievable that this simple measure has still to pass and by allowing the ongoing saga to continue the Government is making a mockery of the political system and failing the British public, many of whom believe this archaic practice was banned years ago.
Despite repeated promises and David Cameron personally stating to an ADI delegation last April that “We are going to do it” little progress has been made to pass what Cameron calls “an outdated practice”, prompting the bill by Jim Fitzpatrick MP. The backbench bill seeks to bring forward the Government’s draft legislation, published 2 years ago, however it has been repeatedly blocked by three Conservative MPs, with Christopher Chope MP doing so on eight occasions now.
Ahead of bringing in the ban the Government introduced a licensing system – opposed by ADI and other animal groups – as a temporary measure, costing an estimated £135,000/year versus a licence payment by the remaining two circuses still to tour with wild animal acts of less than £400/ year and £72/hour for inspections. Despite being branded in some quarters as a success, inspection reports and licence applications released to ADI under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the regulations are failing the animals. Breaches in licence conditions have been identified as well as omissions in information and a number of welfare issues.
There are now fewer than 20 wild animals made to perform in British circuses – as revealed by ADI last week the only lion and tiger circus act, which attracted widespread criticism and local protests whilst with Peter Jolly’s Circus last year, will not be touring this season – however that is still 20 animals too many and there is a risk that without a ban new wild animal acts could arrive from the continent.
The next Second Reading will take place on Friday 6 March.
We will not and must not give up until the ban is won – please help us stop circus suffering in Britain today.
- Contact William Hague MP, Leader of the House of Commons, and ask him to allocate parliamentary time to the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill.
- Contact Prime Minister David Cameron and ask him to fulfil the promise to end the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and ensure Parliamentary time is given to the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill.
- Contact your MP– in person if you possibly can! – remember they probably support the Bill, but we need their help: ask them to back the Bill and press the Government to allocate time for it; and ensure their party is committed to a ban in their manifestos
- Make a donation– ADI is securing lasting change for circus animals around the world, help us do more!
- Spread the word – share our posts on facebook and twitter #notgivingup #circusban