Earlier this year a spokesperson for the nowDeputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg made a further indication that legislation would be pursued after the UK General Election.
Earlier this year, shortly after the announcement that the results of the public consultation showed 94.5% of the respondents to the public consultation supported a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, a spokesperson for the now Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg made a further indication that legislation would be pursued after the UK General Election:
“Keeping animals in circuses has been known to lead to poorer welfare due to the travelling and harsh training regimes. The barren trailers and temporary enclosures do not and cannot provide wild animals with their needs.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare concluded that “circus animals do experience compromised welfare” and that “animals do show psychological, physical and physiological signs of stress.” Liberal Democrats are therefore committed to prohibiting the use of all animals in circuses except domestic dogs and horses.”
Despite this, as well as some cross-party support for a ban and overwhelming public support, a recent answer to a parliamentary question put to the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about plans for the future regulation of use of wild animals in circuses fell far short of any solid commitment.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, Jim Paice MP, commented that:
“The previous Government issued an initial analysis of responses to their consultation on the use of wild animals in circuses. We will consider the results of the consultation exercise before deciding what future action to take, if any.”
Though the UK has in the past been slow to respond to the public’s growing concerns over the use of animals in circuses, new legislation is widely expected to be introduced in the near future. Governments around the world are now acknowledging the suffering inherent in the circus industry, and the UK public has expressed its will for a ban to end circus suffering.
It is now the responsibility of the new Conservative / Liberal Democrat Government to ensure animals are protected from abuse, and that the UK isn’t left behind in failing to pursue progressive and widely supported legislation.