Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Further pressure builds on Government to implement a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses

Posted: 15 June 2011

Backbench cross party debate secured - momentum continues.

Mark Pritchard MP has secured a three hour backbench cross party debate in the House of Commons next week to discuss the issue of wild animals in circuses. Immediately afterwards a vote will then be taken urging that the Coalition Government uses its powers to introduce a regulation banning the use of all wild animals in circuses.

This further debate provides politicians with the perfect opportunity to take a strong stand against the Government’s recent decision not to implement an outright ban and introduce a licensing system instead, and will demonstrate to the Prime Minister the depth of feeling with regard to this important animal welfare issue, says Animal Defenders International (ADI).

The debate and vote has cross party support from Bob Russell, Jim Fitzpatrick and Caroline Lucas.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said: “We are encouraged that Government continues to be put under intense scrutiny regarding their recent flawed decision, and are hopeful that the politicians will attend the debate and vote in favour of a ban, applying further pressure on the Government to reconsider their position.

“This debate and vote could expose the Government and demonstrate just how out of touch they are with their peers, the public, and animal welfare groups.

“This issue simply will not go away. The public wants a ban, politicians want a ban, and animal welfare groups want a ban. A ban is therefore in the public interest and it is high time that this Government started to listen to the will of the British public.”

Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for the Wrekin said: “I am delighted to have secured the first ever voteable debate on this issue in the House of Commons. I hope that supporters of a ban on wild animals in circuses will now write to their MPs asking them to attend the debate and to vote for a ban. This is a unique opportunity to end the suffering of circus animals and to prevent future imports of wild animals for exploitation in circuses”.

To mirror Mark’s comments, ADI is requesting that its supporters and members of the public urgently write to their local MP requesting that they attend and vote. The Backbench Debate will take place in the Chamber on Thursday 23 June commencing at 3pm and running to 6pm. Details of your local MP can be found at:

ADI has also produced postcards for members of the public to send to their local MP and is drafting a series of legal briefings for politicians to keep the pressure up on the Government to do the right thing for animal welfare and protection.

Last week saw a 90 minute Commons Debate on the use of wild animals in circuses in Westminster Hall, secured by Stoke On Trent MP and Shadow Justice Minister Rob Flello and attended by MPs from the major parties, including Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Lucas, Jamie Reed, and Naomi Long, who all pledged overwhelming support for a ban.

Last 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.

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.

A recent parliamentary poll conducted by ADI found that 63% of MPs would like to see a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and only 14% disagreed.
Politically there is cross-party support for a ban, with 198 MPs from all parties having signed EDM 403 calling for a ban, making this the 7th most signed EDM in Parliament out of 1790 motions tabled.

Tim Phillips, ADI’s Campaigns Director said: “Our 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.

“They need to admit that they got their initial call wrong, and now do the right thing for animal welfare and protection. We feel confident that this further Commons debate will certainly help maintain the momentum to overturn their decision, and we are encouraged that this issue remains on the agenda, rather than swept under the carpet, which the Government is trying to do.”


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

Interview opportunities are available.

Details of the debate appear on the Future Business section of the Order Paper today under the motion: “That this House urges the Government to use its powers under section 12 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to introduce a regulation banning the use of all wild animals in circuses.”

Copies of the ADI postcards can be obtained by telephoning: 0207 630 3340, email:

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.

All of these countries have looked at the evidence and listened to the will of the people and done the right thing by implementing bans. It is high time that the UK Government now did the same.


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