Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Wandsworth Borough Council proposes a ban on wild animals in circuses

Posted: 13 November 2008

Animal Defenders International (ADI) welcomes the decision by Wandsworth Borough Council to put forward a proposal banning circuses using performing wild animals.

Battersea Park already has a ban on wild animal circuses and a recent request for a circus there was turned down. But the policy does not apply to the rest of the council’s open spaces.

Councillors are being recommended to support a proposal that the animal circus ban is extended to cover the parks and properties in the entire borough.

ADI has written to Councillor Malcolm Grimston, Leisure and Environment cabinet member, asking him to support the proposal. ADI has sent him the Stop Circus Suffering DVD and Science on Suffering report which present scientific evidence confirming the high level of suffering animals endure in circuses worldwide.

On November 2006 during the passage of the Animal Welfare Act in the House of Lords, Minister Lord Rooker declared “…The Government have made it clear that we are committed to banning certain non-domesticated species currently used in circuses, with a regulation coming into force in 2008. That commitment is crystal clear.” Nonetheless, up to now that commitment has not materialised.

The Circus Working Group established by DEFRA to gather and evaluate evidence has been roundly criticised, and more than 180 MPs have signed a parliamentary petition calling for the Government to fulfil its commitment to ban wild animals in circuses and to set up a proper licensing system.
Until legislation comes into force, local councils need to act and fill this gap.

The proposal by Wandsworth Borough Council has been placed on the council’s website allowing the public to express their views in favour or against the ban. Comments can be found here:

Public consultation is open until the middle of December.



The ADI report ‘Animals in Travelling Circuses: The Science on Suffering’ is available, along with the DVD ‘Stop Circus Suffering’, and photographs of animals in circuses.

The draft report on the Wandsworth Borough Council proposal can be downloaded in pdf format here:

Early Day Motion 965, tabled by Mark Pritchard MP (Con, Wrekin), states “That this House notes with concern that the Circus Working Group disregarded substantial amounts of evidence on the welfare of animals in circuses as a result of the methodology imposed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; believes that the report of the Chair of the Circus Working Group fails to provide reliable information on this subject; and urges the Government to maintain its commitment to ban the use of wild species in travelling circuses and to restrict and limit the use of domesticated species under a strict, accountable and open licensing system.”
The list of signatories to EDM 965 can be found here:

© Animal Defenders International 2019