Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

7 in 10 people back ban on wild animals in circuses

Posted: 6 May 2011

7 in 10 people back ban on wild animals in circuses; less than 1 in 10 think the use of wild animals in British circuses should continue. And No10 may still opt for self-regulation of the circus industry?

Animal Defenders International is extremely concerned to learn that the Coalition government may be considering self regulation in the circus industry despite that time and time again animal suffering and cruelty has been proven, including recent exposes of suffering at the Great British Circus in 2009 and Bobby Roberts Super Circus in 2011.

To directly address the matter head on, ADI has today released the results of its independent online poll carried out by YouGov. The poll asked impartial participants to what extent they would support or oppose a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and the results are condemning for the circus industry. A massive 72% of the public back a ban.

The release of this poll couldn’t come at a worse time for the four proprietors of wild animal circuses, who are reeling from ADI’s shocking undercover footage revealing the terrible suffering of Anne, the UK’s last circus elephant – rehomed last month to Longleat Safari Park as a result of the public outcry.

The poll also sends another clear message to Defra who are considering a ban, and Downing Street who may be considering self regulation. The public want wild animals banned in circuses and they want them banned now.
Nearly 2,000 Great British adults were asked “To what extent would you support or oppose the Government banning the use of wild animals in circuses?” A massive 72% of those polled said they would support a ban with only 8% against.

Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive said: “This shows that the public want the suffering of wild animals in circuses to stop. Many people have seen our recent exposé and they are saying “enough is enough”. A ban on wild animals in circuses is now five years overdue. The public wants to see a ban, Parliament wants a ban, animal protection groups want a ban. A ban is the only way to put an end, once and for all, to this deplorable violence and deprivation, and government must act now.”

The results of the independent poll compare favourably with the responses to Defra’s public consultation where 94.5% of respondents backed a wild animal ban.

Tim Phillips, ADI’s Campaigns Director said: “In a Government consultation you are sampling those with an interest in an issue – whether it is for or against. If you were to remove those who “neither support nor oppose” or who “don’t know” from this opinion poll and base it only on those expressing an opinion it is similar – 90% for a ban and 10% against. The message is clear from both this independent poll and the Government consultation – ban the use of animals in circuses now.”

This latest YouGov poll is completely impartial, with panellists selected at random from a base sample, so these results give a clear indication of the public’s mood, and are therefore condemning for the circus industry.

At the same time as releasing the poll results, ADI have also made public for the first time their special ministerial report based on the findings of a previous investigation into the use of three elephants that were touring with the Great British Circus in 2009.

This document was presented to the former Defra Minister in 2009, and Lord Henley, the Minister now responsible in 2010, and contains opinions of various elephant experts, including vets and a professor of animal welfare. The report clearly illustrates how travelling circuses cannot provide wild animals with the care that they require, which inevitably leads to psychological and physical problems and so the only way to protect these animals is to end their use in circuses. A copy of this report can be downloaded here.

A recent Dods poll indicates that MPs are lagging behind public opinion but support for a ban on wild animal acts is still overwhelming with 63% in favour and 14% against. 189 MPs have now signed Early Day Motion 403 calling on the Government to ban wild animal acts which was tabled by former Defra Minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

In the YouGov poll conducted for ADI there is barely any regional variation in the sample with massive opposition from the north of England (71%) to the south of England (76%), although there is stronger backing for a ban amongst women (78%) than men (64%).

In terms of strength of feeling it is those supporting a ban who win hands down.

The poll noted:
45% strongly support a ban
27% support a ban
19% neither support nor oppose a ban
6% oppose a ban
2% strongly oppose a ban and 3% don’t know

Jan Creamer said: “There is rarely such clear cut public support for an issue before Parliament. We have repeatedly presented the science and the video evidence and we have public backing. The Government must implement its long term promise to ban under the Animal Welfare Act and abandon any ideas regarding self regulation of the industry.”



Media Contact:
Phil Buckley, Media Relations Director, Animal Defenders International, 07716 018250, 0207 630 3344,

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1997 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th – 31st March 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
ADI is leading the campaign to end the suffering of animals in entertainment and currently has major campaigns running in Europe, South America, and USA.

ADI is generally credited with shutting down most of the UK animal circuses following a massive undercover investigation leading to the convictions for cruelty of Mary Chipperfield and others – the only circus cruelty convictions in the UK. 50% of Uk animal circuses went animal free in the 6 months following the ADI investigation. Other major investigations of UK circuses followed.

ADI has continued to undertake dramatic undercover investigations of animal circuses throughout Europe, South America and the USA.

National measures to prohibit or limit the use of animals in circuses have already been adopted in Bolivia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, Singapore, Costa Rica, India and Israel and similar laws are being discussed in Brazil, Chile, Norway, Peru and Greece.

This year, ADI co-ordinated a search and seizure operation with the Bolivian authorities, raiding and closing down eight circuses that were defying the country’s ban. All animals were rescued with ADI flying 25 lions to the USA in a record breaking airlift.

A ban on the use of wild animals in circuses using regulations under the Animal Welfare Act was promised in 2006 and reiterated by the outgoing Defra Minister in 2010.

Dods Monitoring polled 100 MPs from Tuesday 4th January – Friday 28th January 2011 via online and paper polling. The question asked was: “The Government should ban the use of wild animals in circuses rather than let the industry self-regulate their welfare.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? The poll found that 63% of MPs Agreed or Strongly Agreed with this statement. Of the 100 MPs who were polled on this issue 14% Disagreed or Strongly Disagreed and 6% did not respond.

Photographs and video are available from the various ADI investigations.

Animal Defenders International (ADI)
With offices in London, Los Angeles, and Bogota 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.


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