Stop Circus Suffering

Government to review legal advice on wild animal circus ban in light of ADI evidence

No Euro block paves way for outright ban

Great British Circus elephants

Government’s recent announcement that they are unable to ban the use of wild animals in circuses due to a current legal challenge involving the Austrian Government’s circus ban under EU law has been exposed today as a smoke screen and totally incorrect by Animal Defenders International (ADI).

The revelation comes after ADI made enquiries with the Austrian Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union who have jurisdiction in this matter. Both confirmed that there are no pending cases before them involving a challenge against the Austrian ban on wild animals in circuses.

Today, representatives of ADI met with Lord Henley, the Under Secretary of State with animal welfare portfolio, senior Conservative MP’s Neil Parish (Chair of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare) and Mark Pritchard (nominated as Parliamentarian of the Year (2009) for Animal Welfare and Secretary of the 1922 Committee). ADI now demands that a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses be implemented in the UK.

How you can help:

  • Write a letter and send immediately to Defra’s Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman MP, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, W1P 3JR.Tell her that you are outraged with the government’s decision not to ban animals in circuses. Emphasize that a licensing regime is costly, very difficult to enforce and that it will not ensure the welfare of wild animals in circuses. Urge her for this decision to be overturned.
  • Contact your MP immediatelyand tell them that Defra has announced that it will not ban animals in circuses and to take action urging the Minister for this decision to be overturned. Write to them at: The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
  • Organise weekly leafleting sessions in your town or city.Please contact us and we will provide leaflets free of charge.
  • Once a month hold an information stall in the market or in the high street.Please contact us and we will provide leaflets, posters and also loan you our banners, inflatable elephant and stall equipment, such as backdrops and tables, and even assist you on the day if needs be and time permits.
  • Organise a demo during the circus season.Please contact us for further details.
  • Donate to ADI.By donating to ADI campaigns you will enable us to expose cruelty and suffering. Without your donations towards ADI’s work, animal abuse will continue unchecked. Please help us by giving whatever you can – the animals need your help. You can donate online here.
  • Contact us to find out more.Tel: 020 7630 3340 or Email:

No legitimate legal challenge

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said: “In light of this crucial development ADI is now calling on the Coalition Government to do the right thing for animal welfare and protection.

“We have exposed that there is no current legitimate legal challenge as stated by the Coalition Government and cited as the sole reason why a ban cannot be enacted. We have proven that Government has got its facts woefully wrong and there is no current legal challenge in the Austrian Courts.

“There is nothing to block Government enacting a ban, and they should now get on with what they had been quoted as being ‘minded’ to do when we exposed the shocking abuse of Anne the elephant earlier this year.

“A ban is what the public wants, politicians want, and animal welfare groups want. An outright ban is the only way to stop the random abuse and cruelty being inflicted on wild animals in circuses, and we have paved the way for them to now get on and ban, without further delay.” 

Ban has been in place for over 6 years

The Austrian ban has been firmly in place for over 6 years and other European countries such as Denmark have implemented similar bans without challenge. Countries such as Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Sweden all have similar legislation with restrictions.
The government’s reason given for not banning has now been proven to be flawed, and their decision to opt for a licensing regime flies in the face of public opinion. Nearly three quarters of the British public recently voted overwhelmingly in independent polls for a ban, making it abundantly clear that they oppose regulation.

Tim Phillips, ADI’s Campaigns Director said: “It is deeply concerning that the Government could take such a major decision and make an announcement without checking out the full facts first. They hid behind this legal case which was closed in the European Commission in 2006 and by the European Ombusman over a year ago and has not been progressed further through the courts. They have also grossly misjudged the public mood.

“Government needs to admit that a serious error has been made, that their decision was made on incorrect, flawed information, and now do the right thing for animal welfare and protection once and for, and implement a complete ban.

“There have been more exposés of the brutality of the circus industry in the UK than any country in the world. Let us now, once and for all ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Only then can the UK claim to be a nation of animal lovers and a world leader in animal protection.”

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