Stop Circus Suffering

“The race is on” to stop circus suffering as Scotland overwhelmingly backs a ban

Prohibition on wild animal acts backed by 98% of public consultation respondents

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has declared that “the race is on” for legislators in the UK to act after a consultation on the use of wild animals in circuses revealed there is huge distaste for such acts among the public. The response published today by the Scottish Government shows that 98% think wild animal performances should be banned.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “The people of Scotland have spoken and the race is on to secure legislation to protect wild animals from circus suffering. We urge Governments in Scotland, Wales and England to act swiftly to meet the will of the British public and safeguard animal welfare.”

The consultation “Should the use of wild animals in travelling circuses be banned in Scotland?” was launched last January and its findings reflect those of a 2010 Defra consultation in which 94.5% of respondents supported a ban. In the consultation analysis the Government notes that, “The issue of wild animals in travelling circuses has been a source of longstanding unease to many people.”

Responding to the findings, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead stated that “The results of this consultation show overwhelming support for a ban on the use of wild animals in traveling circuses on ethical grounds. As this would require legislation I am now considering the best way forward and will set out our plans shortly.”

Years of ADI investigations in Scotland, the UK and around the world have exposed the inevitable suffering of animals made to perform and tour with the circus. Constant travel and small, temporary accommodation make it impossible for the animals to behave as they would in the wild. Training often dangerous animals to perform unnatural tricks requires dominance and close control, which commonly leads to violence.

ADI exposes have led to several animal cruelty convictions in the UK including the owner of Bobby Roberts Super Circus who was sentenced after the terrible violence and constant chaining inflicted on Anne the elephant. Circuses including Bobby Roberts Super Circus have previously toured in Scotland, but there are currently no wild animal circuses in the country.

Lions and tigers from a circus in England arrived in Aberdeenshire before Christmas and caused considerable concern. The big cats are the first wild animals from a circus to be seen in Scotland for years, and spent the cold winter months on the north east coast after touring with one of the last two circuses licensed to perform in England with wild animal acts. ADI captured footage of the animals at the circus and at their overwintering location displaying abnormal, repetitive behaviour which indicates compromised welfare and suffering. Vets denounced the “unsuitable” circus conditions the big cats are kept in by owner and trainer Thomas Chipperfield.

The British Government has remained committed to banning the use of wild animals in circuses since it announced it would prohibit such acts in 2012, and the Conservative party pledged to do so in its manifesto. Wales is committed to a ban and is seeking to be included in England’s legislation, which has already been drafted.

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  1. Rhonda Brittingham · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    Yes, please stop this entrapment of wild animals! There is always abuse in some way. This is not fair to these animals. They belong in their natural habitat and it is widely known that they suffer greatly from being imprisoned, sometimes for decades. Please everyone, join this cause. let us move to Empathy. When my children were little we only took them to the circus a few times, I knew making these animals perform was WRONG. I love all animals, humans have to learn to stop being so full of GREED. So many of us already knew this. People need to change, not the animals…they need to be left alone.

    1. Donna Reiche · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

      End the suffering of circus animals. They are living beings not party tricks for human amusement

  2. Mariela Cescato · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a


  3. Lynn Waddell · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    The Scottish Government must now act without delay to finally put an end to this barbaric and medieval cruelty and ban wild animal circuses in Scotland.

  4. elizabeth green · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    David Cameron promised this when he was first elected..but it keeps being blocked…i hope this act is passed..soon..

    1. ADI Admin Post author· 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

      Hi Elizabeth, it was the private members bill introduced by Jim Fitzpatrick MP and backed by ADI that was blocked by a few rogue MPs. We now need to push for the government to introduce its own bill prohibiting these acts, drafted in 2013.

  5. Hennie Bezuidenhout · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    Ban all animal circuses worldwide!

  6. danielle rubens · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a


  7. Judith Cavey · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    I’ve already contacted my MP regarding the banning of animals in circuses throughout the UK. It’s something I would like to see happen NOW, surely there’s no need to keep on ignoring this sad situation?

  8. Dave Vanderkop · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    Wow, 98% of Scottish people are bright, compassionate, ethical and caring. Good job!

  9. Beverley Cheetham · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    Please do stop using wild animals, or ANY animals in circuses. PLEASE

  10. Yvonne Egan · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    If only some cruel people would stop thinking that animals are there for our entertainment. If only they would realise that because they cannot talk, that they do have feelings. You can see it in their eyes. You can see when they are fearful, and it’s not right for them to be captive and under human control. Let them live their natural lives in peace. Even if their lives are cut short in the wild at least they will have lived a life free from torture by humans.

  11. gea robbesom · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    not wild animals…………………

  12. Susan arnold · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    Unacceptable in this day and age.. Even p
    Murderers get let out of prison!! I am a voice for any animal anywhere being abused STOP THE ABUSE,,

  13. MARTA Falco Ainley · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    I have been campaigning, writing letters, sending emails to my last MP and having move, my present one. Sadly , the last coalition made a promise to ban animals in circuses but then changed their minds and decided to bring in useless and pointless licencing. Again I wrote and explained that this made no difference to the captive animals lives but was ignored. Now it has been 3 yrs since Cameron said a BAN would come in but, whilst many other countries in the world have brought this in, England still has not. This is the result of having a Conservative Party in power . They have no concerns about animal welfare.

  14. Lisa radford · 26 June 2015 at 2:29a

    Respect, love, humanity….an end to the arrogant, evil abuse by man’kind’. Nuff said!

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