ADI urges the Government to make Parliamentary time for its Bill
Animal Defenders International has welcomed a commitment from Labour to ban the use of wild animals in circuses as part of a raft of pro-animal measures outlined in its ‘Pledge for Animals’ launched today. The election pledge follows a similar promise by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, and is confirmation of the growing belief that the Government will fail to keep a 2012 promise to end the use of wild animals in circuses.
The commitment reads “The Labour Party believes that animals should not be subjected to the unacceptable conditions of circus life” and highlights how regular transport, cramped and substandard enclosures, forced training and performance, loud noise and crowds are the unavoidable distressing realities for animals in circuses.
ADI President Jan Creamer said “We are delighted that Labour has made a clear commitment to end the use of wild animals in circuses. When ADI exposed the horrific abuse of Anne the elephant, people were promised legislation that would ensure it could never happen again. There is overwhelming public support for a law to end the use of animals like lions, tigers, elephants, zebras and camels in travelling circuses and people feel betrayed that the promised ban has not happened.”
The ‘Pledge for Animals’ sets out what a Labour Government would do for animals, upholding the Hunting Act and ending the badger cull in addition to protect wild animals from use in circuses.
The issue of animal circuses has become an embarrassing Parliamentary saga. In 2009, ADI exposed the abuse of elephants with the Great British Circus and the ensuing outrage led to a Government public consultation in 2010, which saw almost 95% of respondents back a ban on wild animal acts. In 2011, ADI exposed how Anne, an elderly elephant with Bobby Roberts Super Circus, was kept permanently chained and physically abused, resulting in a cruelty conviction for her owner. Backbench MPs followed this with a unanimous vote for a wild animal ban and a year later the Government agreed to pass legislation. A Government Bill was drafted in 2013 but simply gathered dust. In recent months, the Government’s own legislation has been presented to Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill by Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick, but has been blocked ten times by a handful of Conservative MPs – despite the Bill having support from all parties.
With time running out, ADI is still urging the Government to make Parliamentary time for its promised Bill, but is also calling on all parties to make election commitments to ban wild animal circuses.
Worldwide, 30 countries have national prohibitions on animal circuses and similar laws are under discussion in several more. Wales is committed to a ban and is seeking to be included in England’s legislation and Scotland is considering responses to a public consultation on the issue.
- 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!
- Contact your local candidates ahead of the General Election and ask for their views on the ban. If you need assistance identifying candidates, please contact the ADI office
- Spread the word – share our posts on facebook and twitter #notgivingup #circusban