Stop Circus Suffering

New circus ban bill provides fresh hope for wild animals

MP takes action as government continues to stall on promised circus ban legislation

A new bill to ban wild animals in English circuses could provide long-suffering circus animals with the reprieve they desperately need.

  • Please contact your MP today and urge them to support The Wild Animals in Circuses (Prohibition) Bill which will have its Second Reading on Friday 4 March 2016.
  • Help us campaign for an end to circus suffering

Calling for MPs to get behind the Ten Minute Rule Motion, ADI President Jan Creamer said: “The government made a commitment to the public to ban wild animal circuses and yet four years on, the animals are still waiting for protection. ADI is urging MPs to back this bill.”

Will Quince, MP for Colchester (Conservative) who introduced the new bill on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 said: “The use of wild animals in travelling circuses can no longer be justified. Circuses can never recreate the natural habitat of a wild species. What’s more, there is no longer any educational, conservational nor research benefit from using wild animals solely for spectacle.”

“The majority of the public supports a ban, as do most MPs. I hope we follow the lead of many of our European neighbours and ban the use of wild animals in circuses once and for all.”

Although the Government claims that it remains committed to its 2012 promise, and manifesto pledge, to end what the Prime Minister has called an “outdated practice”, little progress has been made. Announcing the proposed ban four years ago, the Government said the legislation could “help ensure that our international reputation as a leading protector of animals continues into a new global era.” Britain now lags behind more than 30 countries around the world that have already restricted the use of wild animals in circuses.

Without prohibitive legislation there could be an increase in wild animal acts and a new big cat circus is already poised to return to England. Fronted by Thomas Chipperfield, the show was prevented from touring last year after an inspection found the living conditions for the lions and tigers to be inadequate.

Changing attitudes and awareness of animal suffering have seen the number of wild animal circuses plummet. Only two circuses now perform in England with wild animals, Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus, who are licensed under a temporary scheme introduced by the government ahead of the ban. ADI evidence has shown that inspections have not safeguarded welfare or protected animals from abuse.

Once a UK measure is passed, ADI has offered to assist with the relocation of circus animals, should the need arise. We are currently working with authorities in Peru and Colombia to enforce similar legislation and have rescued and relocated over 100 animals during our 18-month Operation Spirit of Freedom mission, with 33 lions soon be airlifted to the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.

Our shocking revelations in the UK of the brutal violence and constant chaining of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus led to the cruelty conviction of her owner under the Animal Welfare Act. As a result MPs demanded action to protect wild animals in circuses.

Our Stop Circus Suffering campaign is supported by celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Roger Moore, Brian May, Moby, Imelda Staunton, Eddie Izzard, Twiggy and Annette Crosbie. Expressing his exasperation at the lack of progress, actor Brian Blessed said last year “I am deeply opposed to the use of wild animals in circuses and have been working with Animal Defenders International to oppose such acts for many years. Despite repeated promises from the Government, we are still waiting for the law to pass and the animals are continuing to suffer. Please end this circus madness.”


  1. Line Rørdam · 9 February 2016 at 12:30a

    We have no need for animals in cages. We live in a modern time and see how wild animals around the world die out. Therefore it is important for children today to understand that wild animals belong in the wild, and not at the circus.

  2. Julia Moore · 9 February 2016 at 12:30a

    My heart hurts knowing the pain and sadness behind these poor animals . We as humans who are meant to be ‘superior ‘ can give these animals a wonderful life full if love instead we choose to torture them. Disgusting acts of cruelty . Hang your heads in shame anyone who’s involved in the barbaric acts. ban all animal circuses and ban zoos as well .

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