Defra Minister tells UK Parliament that certain non-domesticated animals would be banned from travelling circuses.
On 8th March, 2006 Department of the Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) Minister Ben Bradshaw told the UK Parliament that certain non-domesticated animals would be banned from travelling circuses under regulations that will follow the Animal Welfare Bill. The Scottish Parliament which is due to pass its own Animal Welfare Bill followed suit two weeks with a similar commitment to a ban.
This follows an intense and incredibly successful campaign from ADI. Even before, the bans were announced the UK circus industry had been shattered by a series of undercover investigations by ADI which saw one circus after another close as the public have turned their back on animal suffering. In less than ten years more than half the animal circuses that once toured the UK and the two biggest suppliers of performing animals in Europe, both based in the UK, have closed.
Despite overwhelming public opinion in support of a ban (65% for a total ban, 80% for a wild animal ban), Defra had resisted, saying as recently as January 2006 that nothing would be banned under the Animal welfare Bill.
In the past few months, ADI has flooded MPs with detailed briefings, DVDs, and reports. ADI amendments to the Animal Welfare Bill calling for a complete ban on animal circuses were debated in Standing Committee and during the Third Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons. MPs have been met with and kept fully informed of the all of the facts.
ADI supporters have written to and called their MPs and the Minister at Defra and thousands of specially printed ADI postcards have been sent to MPs.
This is a huge breakthrough, but ADI is not easing up on the pressure or resting on our laurels. The Animal Welfare Bill is now in the House of Lords and we are continuing to press for measures that would end the suffering of circus animals once and for all.
In April, ADI staged a reception in the House of Lords to enable members of the Lords and Members of Parliament to get the facts about the use of animals in circuses. The event was hosted by Baroness Byford and was also addressed by ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer and Campaigns Director Tim Phillips. The hard hitting ADI DVD “Stop Circus Suffering” was screened and a new report “Animals in Travelling Circuses: the science on suffering” was launched.
The event was also attended by a number of ADI’s celebrity supporters:
- Actress Pam Ferris star from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and TV’s the Darling Buds of May
- TV presenter Wendy Turner Webster
- TV chef Ross Burden
- Jaki Degg voted most popular Sun Page 3 girl, now an actress
- Model Kerri Guiney Donnelly
- Singer Lene Lovich
- Actress Leila Birch from Eastenders
- Actress Liz Smith the hugely popular star from The Vicar of, Emmerdale, The Royle Family, as well as the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-rabbit
Parliamentary support for a complete ban on the use of animals in travelling circuses continues to mount. Over 130 MPs have now signed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling for an end to the use of animals in travelling circuses and commending ADI on our work to expose the suffering of animals inside the circus industry.
ADI is also calling for urgent donations to help support this vital campaign – please donate online.