Stop Circus Suffering

Labour commits to wild animal circus ban as Government still fails to fulfil promise

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.

Take action!

  • 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


  1. darral hartley · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    no animals or mammals shud be in captivity in this day n age n no animals shud be hunted

  2. SARAN Jean-Pierre · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    Stop with any animals in circus; other shows with human beings are sufficient!

  3. Peta Feral · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    All animals, birds and insects, ALL LIFE have the right to live free in a safe
    healthy natural environment free from pollution, harm, abuse, torture and

    Animals exist for their own reasons not to be endangered to satisfy
    the greed of stupid barbarians and for the profit of greedy

    It’s their world too.

    The endangering, enslavement, exploitation, imprisonment and degradation, abuse and
    murder of animals in the wild, on farms, as beasts of burden, in
    rodeos, circuses, zoos and vivisection laboratories, brutalises the
    perpetrators and those who witness it and leads to violence towards

    Violence towards animals leads to violence towards humans.

    Violence breeds violence.

    Each and every animal deserves justice in the event that their rights
    are abused.

  4. Virginia Brett · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    No animals should be used in circus’s!

  5. Carol Pickard · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    Animals should not be subjected to this kind of cruelty

  6. anita enticott · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    come on conservatives show your compassionate side ban the use of all animals in circuses !!

  7. Lynn Wood · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    Long overdue – stop the abuse now.
    These animals are not for entertainment

  8. Judith Mitchell · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    Animals in circuses — the reason that I have disliked circuses since I was a little girl. Then, I could see no possible justification for forcing those beautiful, dignified creatures who belonged in the wild, perform idiotic tricks to “entertain” the louts in the audience, and I made my uncle take me home. Today it is so gratifying to realize that there is a strong and growing objection to captive wild animals kept in tiny cages and tormented until they run about in silly costumes, or give rides to circus people. It is simply unethical and cruel.

  9. margaret snowden · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a


  10. JINNY LEE · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    Absolutely unacceptable human behavior.

  11. Mary Scally · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    It is 100% unacceptable and so cruel and unnecessary to have wild animals used and abused for human “entertainment'”

  12. Animals Life NET · 18 February 2015 at 11:08a

    Animal abuse in circuses is a complicated and important issue. Circuses themselves hold ages-long traditions, but the attitude towards animals there is unacceptable.

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