Stop Circus Suffering

Wild animals to be banned from circuses……one day

The Government has, once again, postponed a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses indefinitely.

Great British Circus tiger

The Government has, once again, postponed a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses indefinitely. In defiance of overwhelming and consistent public and parliamentary opinion, Defra plans to embark on an inspection/licensing regime which cannot possibly prevent the abuses that have been exposed in British circuses over the past decade.

Defra have announced: “The Government will seek to introduce primary legislation at the earliest opportunity to achieve its much-stated desire to ban travelling circuses from using performing wild animals.” Animal Welfare Minister Lord Taylor said: “There is no place in today’s society for wild animals being used for our entertainment in travelling circuses. Wild animals deserve our respect.”

Yet, since 2006, a ban has been promised under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. We have been down this road before, delay after delay whilst animals like Anne continue to suffer. The abuses we have exposed simply cannot be addressed by an inspection. We have filmed sick animals being concealed during inspections and inspections where the use of chains on elephants were not noted. We have also shown that, given the circumstances of a travelling circus, inspections have failed in the past and are sure to fail again.

If Defra genuinely believe, like everyone else, that circuses are no place for wild animals, then they need to do something about it. It could be years before primary legislation is even considered let alone passed.

The Government’s consultation on the licensing of wild animals in circuses that has been announced is yet another stalling tactic whilst animals continue to suffer. The move is completely at odds with public opinion; advice of animal protection groups, a vote by MPs last year, and calls from celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney, Alexei Sayle, Brian Blessed, Meg Mathews and Ricky Gervais.

ADI has condemned the move and together with animal groups Four Paws, Animal Aid, PETA, WSPA and the BVA (British Veterinary Association), together with MPs Mark Pritchard (Con), Caroline Lucas (Green), Jeremy Corbyn (Lab), Sir Bob Russell (Lib Dem) and Nic Dakin (Lab) we are urging the Government not to ignore the widespread public and parliamentary support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

There is concern that Defra’s inspection and licensing regime will include secret inspections. The Government has refused to allow access to ADI to their circus inspection reports in 2008 and 2009, and has forced ADI to lodge a Freedom of Information appeal.

ADI and MPs believe that putting the contents of these reports into the public domain would serve the public interest and can provide key information regarding the efficiency of any licensing regime. Refusal to allow access to inspection reports will prevent concerned stakeholders and independent experts from reviewing the scope, criteria used and overall quality of the inspections, and thus public confidence in the system will be undermined.

Please help us win justice for wild animals in circuses:

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