Posted: 30 October 2012. Updated: 7 November 2012
Both the House of Commons (on 30 October) and House of Lords (on 6 November) have passed legislation to regulate the use of wild animals in circuses through licensing.
ADI is dismayed that the government is pushing through legislation which will not protect wild animals in circuses and is wasting both taxpayers’ money and parliamentary time.
ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer: “Like the badger cull, the government’s handling of the issue of wild animals in circuses has been an absolute shambles. For just a handful of circuses, Defra is jumping through hoops to ensure that licensing is implemented, when the ban that the public and parliament was promised would be simpler and cheaper to implement, and receive the approval of the public, welfare groups and politicians.”
The Commons committee met on 29 October to discuss the regulations ahead of the motion in the Commons. This was, unsurprisingly, a heated affair with committee members vociferous in their criticism of the legislation and citing many of the welfare concerns raised by ADI.
An attempt by Mark Pritchard MP to obtain a commitment from Defra Minister David Heath as to whether a bill to ban wild animals in circuses would be put before Parliament in 2015 was met with stalling tactics, with Mr Heath responding: “What I can commit to is the commitment that has already been made, which is that we will bring forward a draft Bill in this Session and, if that meets with parliamentary approval, it will be our intention to introduce a Bill for substantive scrutiny and to make it law”.
Tom Harris MP summed up the frustration: “A ban has the backing of Parliament, of the public and of animal welfare groups. Despite that, and for a reason that I am struggling to fathom, the Government have dragged their feet and focused a great deal of time and so many resources and—pertinently, in this time of austerity—spent a lot of money, including the amount of money needed to enforce these regulations in the future, on these draft regulations. Why did they not just get on with the job of legislating for a ban?”
ADI will continue to fight for the ban that was promised by the government in back in March.
Outcome of House of Commons Committee debate
The Committee voted 10 for and 7 against the regulations.
AYES: David Burrowes, Douglas Carswell, Jane Ellison, David Evennett, David Heath, Andrew Jones, Sir James Paice, Mark Spencer, Andrew Stephenson, Roger Williams
NOES: Thomas Docherty, Mary Glindon, Tom Harris, Graham Jones, Kerry McCarthy, Siobhain McDonagh, Chris Williamson