Stop Circus Suffering

A new excuse from government regarding the wild animal circus ban

‘Defra’s preposterous circus of excuses continues’

Great British Circus tiger

ADI has accused the government of desperation and contradiction over its continued attempts to block a ban on wild animals in circuses, after Defra recently launched a raft of new excuses for avoiding a ban in a letter to an ADI supporter.

Initially, Defra tried to hide behind the threat of an Austrian legal challenge, but when the ban was upheld by the Austrian Constitutional Court in December, Defra is now subsequently trying to claim that this decision may be of limited relevance to the UK’s position with regard to the wild animals in circus ban – a ban supported overwhelmingly by public and parliament.

Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive said: “In a letter to one of our supporters, Defra has finally admitted that the ban in Austria has been upheld, which effectively clears the way for a UK ban. However, inexplicably, government is now claiming that the Austrian case ‘may have limited relevance to England’s position, and the risk of a successful legal challenge to any ban introduced in England remains high.’

“So, Defra initially hid behind this challenge as a reason not to ban, and because it was defeated is now claiming it to be potentially irrelevant. This position would be laughable if there were not such serious animal welfare implications. Defra appears not only incapable of listening, but increasingly desperate. This government has totally isolated itself from the opinion and will of the nation and is doing everything in its power not to ban.”

Last May, Defra minister Jim Paice announced to the House of Commons that a UK ban might invite a legal challenge from Europe (citing Austria), or that it might be challenged under the European Services Directive and/or the Human Rights Act. These arguments have subsequently been crushed, but still Defra looks for reasons not to implement a ban, contradicting itself along the way.

The Government continues to drag its feet over enacting an outright ban, which has received support from over 94% of the public, and an overwhelming vote in Parliament’s Backbencher’s Committee where MPs unanimously approved a motion directing the government to ban the use of wild animals in circuses by July 2012. Shortly after the Prime Minister was quoted as saying that he was ‘minded’ to ban.

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