Stop Circus Suffering

Wildlife experts speak out against circus suffering in Britain

Leading wildlife vet Simon Adams and UNEP conservation ambassador Stanley Johnson have spoken out against the “degrading and incredibly damaging” use of wild animals in British circuses.

Leading wildlife vet Simon Adams and UNEP conservation ambassador Stanley Johnson have spoken out against the “degrading and incredibly damaging” use of wild animals in British circuses, following the release of footage by ADI showing big cats at Peter Jolly’s Circus pacing up and down their small cages, one of a range of abnormal, repetitive behaviours, which indicates compromised welfare and suffering.

Simon JR Adams BSc BVMS MRCVS Zoo and Wildlife Veterinary Advisor said “Stereotypic repetitive behaviour is a sign of mental disease, and is well recognised as an indicator of poor standards of animal welfare, where the enclosure is either too small or barren to fulfil the animal’s natural behavioural needs. This is a prime reason why the limited space available in a travelling circus is unsuitable to big cats, as patrolling their large territories in the wild is an essential behavioural drive, thwarted by the limited confines of circus accommodation, no matter how hard the circus may try to accommodate them.”

Simon Adams stressed, “It may be nice for the public to see them, but they should understand that it is not nice for the poor big cats!”

Author, award-winning conservationist and former MEP Stanley Johnson said, “I am deeply saddened that big cats and other wild animals are continuing to suffer in British circuses. I have worked to conserve and protect wildlife for many years, and it is of grave concern that efforts to safeguard these same species in the wild is being undermined by those who continue to use them for cheap tricks, despite the opposition. It’s degrading and incredibly damaging. I fully support Animal Defenders International’s campaign to stop circus suffering and hope that we can pass a ban on wild animals in circuses before the General Election.”

The unpopularity of using wild animals has seen the number of circuses with such acts plummet over the last 15 years to just two – Peter Jolly’s Circus and Circus Mondao. Both are required to be licensed by Government, a temporary measure brought in last year ahead of a ban and opposed by ADI as such regulations are unable to protect the animals.

The licensing system is being used by the circuses to reassure the public and allay concerns. However despite repeatedly stating they are inspected seven times a year, Defra Minister George Eustice stated on 8 July 2014 that the Government has only inspected Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus once and twice respectively this year and three and four times respectively in 2013.

The brutal violence and constant chaining of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus, exposed by ADI, led to the conviction of her owner and a commitment from Government in March 2012 to ban wild animals in circuses “at the earliest opportunity”. The Draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill was subsequently published last April, however progress has stalled and the bill has yet to be introduced to Parliament. Responding to a letter from ADI signed by 75 celebrities and politicians, the Prime Minister has recently stated – as reported on Sky News on 16 August – that he remains committed to ban what he calls “an outdated practice”.

In a bid to secure the legislation by 2015, ADI is supporting a new circus bill fronted by former Labour Defra Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP, which will be introduced on 3 September and seeks to ban wild animal acts before the next election.

Until legislation is brought in, there are concerns that the number of wild animals will increase, as they have this year. Peter Jolly’s Circus for example has been reported in local media as saying that they would not rule out breeding, or getting an elephant – a disturbing prospect, given the terrible suffering endured by Anne the elephant and the elephants at the Great British Circus, both of which were only uncovered by ADI’s investigation, and not inspections.

The circus is no place for wild animals and until the ban is brought in, these animals will continue to suffer.

Please help us stop circus suffering in Britain once and for all.


  1. Lavinia Lewis · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    It beggars belief that animals are being exploited and treated horrendously in this day and age, this must stop.

  2. JULIA PILLING · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    Britain is supposed to be a nation which cares for animals, this is disgraceful. Why have successive Governments not stopped it?

  3. Nigel Goodman · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    Please get this into Law – you make the time – when you want to – you would push through fracking if you want. So do this – its long over due.

  4. beverly stevens · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    animals do not belong in a circus and they do not deserve to be abused and taken away from their family and home no one has that right to do that

  5. Linda Mitchell · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    Stop circuses using wildlife for gain and abuse of the animals elephants being chained and being stabbed with a bull hook and electric shocking of other animals to perform for what? Abuse STOP it NOW save the wild animals if this torture.

  6. Gina Robertson · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    Cruel and disgusting….ban wild animals in circuses!

  7. joan elizabth birkhead · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    i hope thay stop all this cruety in circuses the poor animals should all be free i will say a prayer hoping god heres

  8. kumar Ambu · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    Its indeed high time to stop using wild life for entertainment. The reasons are very obvious cause as they not birds to be caged up. Even birds too need freedom to fly high, what more a TIGER! Stop using using them for entertainment and making out of them to the silly amusement of people who are unaware the anguish this beautiful tiger are going through. They too have feelings like us. Please set them free to roam the wilderness where truthfully belong!

  9. Sarita Shekar · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    No more circuses please – anywhere in the world!

  10. Sarah carter · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    This is wrong any animal specifically wild animals are not for our entertainment it’s wrong for so many reasons..

  11. Erica Leyshon · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    Unbelievable that we’re allowing and condoning this in 2014!

  12. ilona csatlos-graudins · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    this is a disgrace and the government need to ban this immediatly.. Shame on british politicians for dragging their feet on this matter they should hang their heads in shame when people and
    governnments allover the world are fighting to save and free these wonderfull souls from cruelty and unacceptable conditions ourpoliticians are behaving worse than the romans did

  13. Louise Nilsson · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    Wild animals needs to be free. Stop using animals in your circus it is cruel and I refuse to go to any Circus that uses animals.

  14. carole Griffiths · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    I joined the protest at Jolly’s latest venue in Buckley, Flintshire,they are performing there until next Sunday 31 August 2014. We could do with more people joining us to raise awareness.

  15. don watkins · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    disgraceful, this practice should have been banned world wide years ago!!! why is the uk dragging their feet on this!???????????????

  16. Linda Mitchell · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    I for one don’t trust politicians nor their licences where animals are concerned. Having said that forget the inspections and licences and CLOSE these circus down NOW.
    Let the animals go back to the wild life they are used to freedom of spirit instead of abuse and cages.

  17. Geraldine Daly · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    Please get these beautiful creatures away from those brutal, horrific, sadistic circus people. What is stalling those politicans? They have the power to ban the use of all animals in circuses. How can they sleep at nite and allow this cruelty on animals to continue – day in day out. Animals r suffering horrifically while THEY DO NOTHING.

  18. Regine Ruelle · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a

    Basta con el maltrato animal

  19. monique · 16 August 2014 at 12:00a


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