Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Circus on tour with wild animals as costly licensing scheme fails to issue licences

Posted: 14 March 2013. Updated: 14 March 2013


The costly licensing scheme for wild animals in circuses, which became effective in January, has failed to issue licences to the two circuses that have applied to include wild and exotic animals in their circus tours for the 2013 season, which has already got under way.

Circus Mondao is already travelling with camels, which are classed as exotic animals and are therefore covered by the new licensing scheme. On 6th March, ADI investigators photographed two camels in a tent at the back of the circus at junction A16, Wash Road, Kirton PE20 1QJ, where the circus performed until 10th March. No room was provided for grazing or exercise.

A Written Ministerial statement on 12 October 2012 said it is “A requirement that any travelling circus in England that includes wild animals first obtains a licence from Defra”.

Defra’s website announces: “The Regulations make it an offence to operate a travelling circus that has wild animals in England without a valid licence“.

In an email communication with Defra on 26 February, ADI was advised that “Two applications for licences have been received, but no licences have yet been issued. If any travelling circus in England is found to be using wild animals without a licence then appropriate enforcement action would be taken.”

The Government has stubbornly insisted on introducing this costly licensing regime, despite objections from animal protection groups and Members of Parliament. ADI has provided evidence that a licensing and inspection regime cannot protect these animals – the conviction of Bobby Roberts last year, for the cruelty inflicted on Anne the elephant, shows that inspections in these circumstances cannot work. The public is in support of a ban, parliament is overwhelmingly in favour of a ban, yet the Government refuses to take the simple and more economic option to prevent further suffering.


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