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.
- Contact your elected representative in Scotland, Wales and England today and urge them to push forward legislation to prohibit wild animal circuses. Look up their details here
- Read the consultation findings
- Make a donation to support ADI’s work to stop circus suffering in the UK and around the world