Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

When will Government ban wild animals in UK Circuses?

Posted: 28 September 2010. Updated: 4 July 2014

Following Bolivia’s animal circus ban, a rescued circus baboon has started a new life in a UK rescue centre. But if he was with a British circus he’d still be living in a cage on the back of a lorry.

Last week the United Kingdom welcomed Tilin the Hamadryas baboon from Bolivia, who was successfully rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI) from a circus, after undercover investigations, campaigning and lobbying of the Bolivian Government by ADI brought about a ban on both wild and domestic animals in circuses there.

Tilin’s amazing rescue symbolises how far the UK is starting to slip behind other countries on animal protection measures despite overwhelming public support here for strong animal protection. ADI has therefore started a major drive at the political party conferences to end the use of wild animals in circuses.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International said:
“When Bolivia banned animal circuses we brought Tilin the baboon here because we have wonderful sanctuaries supported by a generous public. We will give him a wonderful new life and hope to introduce him once again to his own kind. The irony is that if he had been with a travelling circus in the UK he would still be living in a small cage on the back of a lorry.”

It’s now approaching five years since the previous Government promised to ban wild animals in circuses. Last year an investigation by ADI revealed horrific abuse of elephants at the Great British Circus. In March 2010, a staggering 94.5% of respondents to the Defra public consultation on animal circuses backed a ban on wild animal acts. The change of government has meant that circus animals are in limbo again, with no protection.

“Over the last four years Defra – the Government department responsible - have conducted public consultations, feasibility studies, and even founded expert committees to look at the issue, but no decisive action has been taken to put an end to the suffering of animals in UK circuses,” Jan said.

“Last year at the Great British Circus, we filmed frightened, stressed elephants being brutally hit in the face with elephant metal hooks, brooms and pitchforks, and these highly intelligent, complex creatures spent most of their time in a small pen, every night chained by a front and a back leg, barely able to take one step back and forward.”

The new Minister responsible at Defra, Lord Henley, has promised to review the issue and the Coalition Government have promised an announcement this autumn. A ban on wild animal acts was also backed by the now Deputy Prime minister Nick Clegg, prior to the election.

130 MPs have already signed an EDM, tabled by the former Defra Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP, calling for the wild animal ban to finally be implemented.

Jan Creamer said:
“This issue has highlighted the very best of the British public who in every poll or consultation have expressed their compassion and desire to end the cruelty. But it has highlighted the worst of our political system with indecision and procrastination whilst animals suffer. We will be at all of the party conferences, and started with the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool last Saturday. Ending the deadlock on animal circuses will be our top priority. I think party activists will be stunned that their politicians have allowed the UK to fall behind Bolivia, Austria, Portugal, and Costa Rica on this, and if we don’t act soon we will be behind Brazil and Peru who are preparing to pass bans. The rescue of Tilin the baboon shows that this is still a nation of animal lovers, our politicians need to reflect that.”

Animal Defenders International (ADI)

With offices in London and San Francisco, Animal Defenders International (ADI) is a major international campaigning group, lobbying to protect animals on issues such as animals in entertainment and their use in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI involves itself in international animal rescues as well as educational work on animals, conservation and environment. Founded in 1990, ADI has become a major force for animal protection and has succeeded through its undercover investigations in securing legal protection for animals. ADI opposes violence or intimidation whether directed at humans or other animals.

National measures to prohibit or limit the use of animals in circuses have been adopted in: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Taiwan, Singapore, Bolivia, Costa Rica, India and Israel. Similar laws are being discussed in: United Kingdom, Netherlands, Malta, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Norway, and Peru. Due to public concerns, local town and city bans are in place in the US, UK, Brazil and many other countries.

130 MPs have signed EDM 403, Wild Animals In Circuses, since July 2010.

ADI’s education campaign has resulted in over 200 local authorities in the UK, banning the use of some or all animals in travelling circuses.

ADI is leading the campaign to end the suffering of animals in entertainment and currently has major campaigns running in Europe, South America, and now in the USA.

Contact for further information: Phil Buckley, Media Relations Director, Animal Defenders International, 020 7630 3344, 07716 018250,

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