Stop Circus Suffering

Wild Animals in Circuses: the Way Forward

MPs to increase the pressure for ban on wild animals in circuses

A reception at the House of Commons brought together MPs of all parties to discuss animals in circuses and press the Government to fulfil its commitment to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

The event, ‘Wild Animals in Circuses: the Way Forward’, held on October 20th 2008, was organised by Animal Defenders International (ADI), and hosted by Bob Russell MP. Born Free Foundation also participated in the event.
The reception was attended by David Drew MP (Labour), Bill Wiggins MP (Conservative), Lord Corbett, Lord Dholakia, Lady Dholakia, researchers, MP assistants of all parties, amongst others. The attendance showed cross-party support and interest in the issue of wild animals in travelling circuses.

Despite Government’s commitment to ‘ban certain non-domesticated species’ from circuses in 2006, Ministers have failed to propose any regulation to date. The Circus Working Group organised by Defra, which concluded a year ago, has not produced any results and has been widely criticised by lawyers, MPs and animal protection groups.

Early Day Motion 965, tabled by Mark Pritchard MP, is currently before the House of Commons with the backing of 182 MPs and states:

“The Circus Working Group disregarded substantial amounts of evidence on the welfare of animals in circuses as a result of the methodology imposed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; believes that the report of the Chair of the Circus Working Group fails to provide reliable information on this subject; and urges the Government to maintain its commitment to ban the use of wild species in travelling circuses and to restrict and limit the use of domesticated species under a strict, accountable and open licensing system.”

Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive, noted how legislation is being discussed in Greece, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil to ban animals from circuses, and asked MPs why the UK, which was at the forefront of this issue a decade ago, is now trailing behind? Austria, Hungary, Costa Rica and Singapore have already banned wild animals from circuses.

Jan Creamer said: “Almost three years ago we were promised a wild animal ban. MPs, animal protection groups, and the public all want to see the use of wild animals in circuses stopped. Last year, Ming, the poor bear who toured the country in a cage on the back of a lorry, died. Surely, the Government will get its act together and ensure he is the last bear to endure this misery.”

During the reception, ADI presented the assistants with publications Science on Suffering report, Wild Animals in Circuses? Questions and Answers document, Political Animals 2008, legal report of Parliamentary Law firm Bircham Dyson Bell confirming that the Government could press ahead with its commitment to ban wild animals from travelling circuses, amongst others. The DVD Stop Circus Suffering was presented throughout the reception.

ADI will continue to lobby MPs to call the Government’s to fulfill its public pledge to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses

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