Today in Westminster, TV presenter Wendy Turner-Webster, dressed provocatively as a circus ring master backed the campaign to end the use of all animals in circuses.
On Tuesday 24 January, MPs on the Standing Committee discussing the Animal Welfare Bill will debate an amendment to ban the use of all animals in circuses. The case for a complete animal ban will be made by Shona McIsaacs MP.
Shona McIsaac MP said: “As regards performing animals in circuses I will be leading the debate in Committee pressing for a total ban and I hope the government will acknowledge that the majority of the British public supports such a ban.”
MPs have never had a better opportunity to end the archaic abuse of animals. All of the major animal protection groups in the field (including the RSPCA, WSPA, CAPS, Animal Aid, and Born Free Foundation) have signed up to a complete ban of all animals in circuses as the best option in terms of animal welfare but MPs will be given an option of just banning exotic animals from circuses,
Number of animals in circuses halved
Tuesday’s debate in Parliament is the culmination of a 10-year campaign by Animal Defenders International (ADI), which has seen the closure of almost every animal circus in the UK. By 2005 the number of animals touring with circuses was nearly halved, 41% down from 1997. In that year there were 16 elephants touring the UK with circuses. Today there is just one left.
Eye witness accounts
The campaign is based on the detailed observations and undercover work by ADI Field Officers which has revealed systematic confinement, deprivation, and frequent violence towards circus animals. These eyewitness accounts were filmed inside over 20 animal circuses.
Animal circus popularity drops
MORI poll taken last October and commissioned by ADI, showed the drop in popularity of animal circuses. The poll revealed that more than twice as many people visited animal-free circuses as circuses with animals over the last five years – six years ago these figures were neck and neck.
Wendy Turner Webster said: “Just by the very nature of a travelling circus, with the best will in the world you simply can’t hope to house and look after these kind of animals. You can’t possibly hope to give them any quality of life, and these people haven’t even got the best will in the world. They don’t see their animals as living, breathing things at all, they’re just being stored for when they can next be used.”
This week MPs received a new report by ADI into the treatment of animals in UK circuses and at the weekend ADI is mobilising its supporters for a special postcard campaign to MPs urging them to back the ban. Click here for report
A dramatic billboard calling for a ban on animal circuses is touring London today and on Saturday will be touring Southampton, a return to the region where ADI delivered one of its greatest blows to the circus industry – the investigation, prosecution and conviction of Mary Chipperfield. Click here to spot our van