Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Celebrities bring ADI wild animal circus campaign to Number Ten

Posted: 9 June 2011. Updated: 9 June 2011


PM requested to reconsider position as a matter of urgency

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has enlisted the help of high profile supporters and celebrities who have written a joint open letter to the Prime Minister requesting that he reconsiders Government’s recent decision not to implement an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

Brian Blessed, Annette Crosbie, Ricky Gervais, Meg Mathews, Brian May, Julia McKenzie, John Nettles, Mark Radcliffe, Alexei Sayle and Benjamin Zephaniah have all pledged support to ADI’s ‘Stop Circus Suffering UK’ campaign, bringing further pressure to bear on the Coalition Government to introduce a ban during this crucial time.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said: “We are extremely grateful to these well known personalities, who like us have been appalled by Government’s lack of judgement and failure to listen to the will of the UK public. As the UK and Scottish Parliament continue to debate the issue of wild animals in circuses, their invaluable support has assisted our campaign as we press ahead for a ban.”

Brian Blessed, the revered actor, author, and ADI Ambassador said: ”Government needs to do the honorable thing and implement a ban as soon as possible to prevent further animal suffering. We have presented them with strong evidence and it is now time for them to get on with it and ban the use of wild animals in circuses - period.“

The actress Annette Crosbie said: “It looks perverse to continue to tolerate a Victorian idea of wholesome family entertainment that endangers and degrades helpless animals. And, if we have learned nothing else from recent events, we know to our cost that rules and regulations mean nothing if someone is prepared to ignore them, either in the City or in the Westminster village."

Multi award winning writer and comedian Ricky Gervais said: “Animal Defenders International’s recent footage of Anne the elephant being beaten graphically displays why the government should ban wild animals in circuses. I am appalled that wild animals are still kept in circuses and fully support the call for a ban. It is high time that Government got on and implemented one.”

Celebrity Designer Meg Mathews said: “As an advocate of animal welfare, the footage released by ADI of poor Annie the elephant being so cruelly treated made me sick to my stomach. It’s time for this government to stop dragging its heels and finally take action to end the suffering that animals like Anne endure every day in UK circuses.”

Brian May, legendary guitarist, song writer and founding member of Queen said: “The use of wild animals in circuses is cruel, distasteful and unacceptable in the 21st century. Our present government is currently backing away from ending this abhorrent practice. We at ‘Save-Me’ call on David Cameron personally to act now, and take a step towards making Britain worthy of its desired status as a nation of animal-lovers. While wild animals still exist in circuses, we remain very far away from that title.”

Star of Miss Marple and theatre director Julia McKenzie said: "The Government needs to listen to the will of the Great British public and implement a wild animal circuses ban without further delay. Their decision is flawed and needs rapid review. I urge the Minister to reconsider."

Actor, historian and writer John Nettles said: "I am absolutely amazed that wild animals in circuses still exist in the UK. I was appalled when ADI informed me of Government’s recent decision and I would urge all animal lovers to get behind their campaign to stop circus suffering and write to their MPs and request that they contact the Minister responsible to request that he reverses his decision, in the interests of animal protection and welfare.”

Radio personality, DJ, presenter and broadcaster Mark Radcliffe said: “I am amazed that wild animal circuses still exist in the UK, and like the vast majority of the public and politicians I want to see a ban on their use once and for all - and I want this to happen now. Successive governments have been mulling this issue over now for far too long, and it is high time that the Coalition Government acted decisively to bring an end to this animal suffering - once and for all. They have been provided with all the evidence and information that they need and it is time to now listen to the will of the UK public."

Comedian, actor and author Alexei Sayle said: “There are many grey areas in matters of morality - using wild animals in circuses is not one of these grey areas. It is simply and obviously wrong and indefensible. The sooner this blot on a civilised country is eradicated the better it will be for all of us - animals and humans."

And the poet, novelist and playwright Benjamin Zephaniah said: “There are so many ways that intelligent human beings can have fun, and exploiting animals should not be one of them. Beautiful animals are not for our entertainment, in fact it’s our duty to respect and protect them. I am a real animal lover and I would never go to a circus that had wild animals, so I’m appealing to the Government to heed ADI’s advice. The Great British public have made it clear, they demand better, so the Government should do the right thing for animal welfare by implementing a ban.”

ADI’s recent exposé at the winter quarters of Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus, which showed the appalling abuse of Anne the elephant and Monty the camel and led to a worldwide public outcry, has provided the Government with the perfect opportunity to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, which is what the public wants, politicians want, and animal welfare groups want.

It’s time that this Government faced up to their responsibilities and implemented an outright ban without further delay.

A copy of the joint letter to the Prime Minister can be viewed here:

ADI is in the process of drafting a series of legal briefings for politicians to keep the pressure up on the Government to do the right thing morally and ethically – wild animals do not belong in travelling circuses.



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

Photographs are available on request. Interview opportunities are available.

Last year, a survey by Defra (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) resulted in a huge 94.5% public support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

This month, ADI released the results of its independent online poll carried out by YouGov, which asked impartial participants aged over 18 to what extent they would support or oppose a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. A massive 72% of the public backed a ban with only 8% against – almost 3 out 4 members of the public want a ban.
Politically there is cross-party support for a ban, with 196 MPs from all parties having signed EDM 403 calling for a ban, making this the 9th most signed EDM in Parliament out of 1790 motions tabled.

A recent Dods Parliamentary poll for ADI also found overwhelming support for a ban on wild animal acts in the House of Commons with 63% of MPs in favour and 14% against. So as well as ignoring those who voted them into power, the Government is isolated from its peers.

A new Parliamentary motion (EDM 1860) has been tabled in the Commons regretting Defra’s handling of the policy of wild animals in circuses and urging the Government to use its powers to introduce a ban without further delay under the Animal Welfare Act. A similar EDM has been drafted and is circulating in Scotland.

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.

ADI has received expert legal advice stating that an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses would not breach the Human Rights Act or the EU Services Directive. ADI’s latest announcement follows their statement last week that Defra officials had indicated in 2009 that it was possible to introduce a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses under the auspices of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Last week the European Commission confirmed that banning the use of wild animals in circuses is left to the discretion of member states.

The week previously ADI had exposed the Government as being incorrect by uncovering that there was no Austrian legal challenge in the courts, cited by the Government as a primary reason not to ban.


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