Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Defra response to circus report “does not go far enough to safeguard wild animals”

Posted: 22 October 2013. Updated: 29 October 2013

ADI has today expressed its disappointment that Defra’s response to the report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee on the draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill does not go far enough to safeguard the welfare of wild animals in circuses.

Although ADI welcomes many of the remarks made by Defra in its statement, not least that the circus ban will apply to all wild animals – and not just elephants and big cats, or other disparate species, as suggested by EFRA – we are incredibly disappointed that the loophole in the draft law, which will allow circuses to continue to tour with wild animals has not yet been closed”.

Under the Bill only the “use” of wild animals – namely their performance and display – will be prohibited, meaning that wild animals in circuses could very well continue to be subjected to the same inherent welfare problems associated with the travelling circus that they currently endure.

It is simply not possible for circuses to replicate the natural habitat of a wild animal, or create an environment where its natural behaviours can be adequately satisfied on tour. Even with the best will in the world, animal welfare is compromised and so ADI urges Defra to revise the wording of the legislation to prohibit circuses from touring with wild animals.

Although the Government seeks to ban the use of wild animals in circuses by December 2015, time is running out for the legislation to be introduced ahead of the proposed implementation date.

Mark Pritchard MP, whose backbench debate led to the unanimous vote for a ban on wild animals in circuses in June 2011, has said that “...the Government now needs to find time to bring forward the legislation in the next legislative programme...” and is calling for “everyone to write to their MP calling for the legislation to be implemented”.

Take action

  • Contact Lord de Mauley at and urge him to revise the wording of the Bill to prohibit circuses from travelling with wild animals.
  • Ask your MP to support the rewording of the Bill (download our template letter here and the swift implementation of the ban – find out who your MP is and contact them here

Find out more

  • Read our Q&A about wild animals in circuses here
  • More on our Stop Circus Suffering UK campaign here

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