Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI calls for wild animal circus ban in Scottish consultation

Posted: 17 April 2014

ADI has called for a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, on both ethical and welfare grounds, in its detailed response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the use of wild animals in circuses, which closed yesterday.

Scottish nutritionist, presenter and author Gillian McKeith gave her support for ADI’s call for a ban, commenting that having seen wild animals in circuses when she was younger: "As I grew up I realised those few moments of entertainment came at a terrible price for the animals. Once I was aware of the suffering involved, I vowed never to take my children to a circus with wild animals.”

Calling on the Scottish public to have their say she added "Scotland has a chance now to ensure that we never see wild animals suffering on our soil again."

ADI has conducted numerous undercover investigations in the UK and around the world, exposing the inherent cruelty to which animals in circuses are subjected. Most recently, ADI’s undercover investigation at the winter quarters of the Bobby Robert’s Super Circus led to the prosecution of the owner under the Animal Welfare Act. As a result of the public outcry, Anne the elephant and Monty the camel were re-homed.

The findings of our investigations and reports over the years have highlighted, time and time again that:

  • even with the best will in the world, the welfare of wild animals in circuses is compromised
  • the constant travel and small, temporary accommodation make it impossible for the animals to behave naturally, as they would in the wild
  • training these often dangerous animals to perform unnatural tricks requires dominance and close control, which commonly leads to violence

Animal experts, academics, politicians and the public all agree that wild animals do not belong in circuses. This sentiment has been reflected in public opinion polls, public consultation responses and also in the dwindling number of circuses in the UK which still use wild animals - licenses have been issued to two circuses this year.

In Britain, ADI has been campaigning for a ban on wild animals in circuses for many years. Last week, on April 9th, the organisation presented the Prime Minister with a letter urging him to speed along plans for a ban, co-signed by 75 celebrities and politicians. Outside Downing Street, David Cameron informed the ADI deputation headed up by former Conservative MEP and conservationist Stanley Johnson and social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell, that “we’re going to do it” pledging his commitment to ensure the swift passage of the law through Parliament.

The government made a commitment to ban wild animals in circuses in 2012 and published draft legislation outlining an implementation date of 1 December 2015. Since then, a big cat act has returned to Britain and there are concerns that more wild animal acts could be brought into the country should the ban continue to stall.

The current system of regulation cannot protect wild animals in circuses - the only way to safeguard their welfare, and reflect the will of the public and parliament, is to ensure that the promised ban swiftly passes through parliament.

© Animal Defenders International 2019