Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Senior Tories write to PM to request Government reconsiders wild animal circus ban

Posted: 21 June 2011. Updated: 22 June 2011

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has garnered the support of Conservative politicians who have written a joint open letter to the Prime Minister requesting that the Government reconsiders its recent decision not to implement an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

This initiative brings further pressure to bear on the Coalition Government to implement a ban, ahead of a crucial Commons Debate this Thursday on the issue.

The Conservative MP’s Zac Goldsmith, Neil Parish, Penny Mordaunt and Tracey Crouch have all asked the Prime Minister to intervene and make the right decision regarding this important animal welfare and protection issue, deciding to speak out as they feel passionately that an outright ban is long overdue.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said: “We are extremely grateful to these politicians, who like us have been mystified by Government’s recent decision which flies in the face of public and political opinion.

“As politicians gear up for the Commons Debate, these MP’s invaluable support and courage to speak out against the Coalition Government will help to bring further pressure to bear. ADI is encouraged that Government continues to be put under intense scrutiny regarding their recent flawed decision. “

Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park & North Kingston said: “I do not see any real arguments against the ban, other than abstract ones. It seems to come down to an argument about the vague threat of a possible challenge by the European Union at some point in the future.”

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton & Honiton said: “I call upon the Government to ignore the situation in the Europe Courts and bring forward a unilateral ban on all wild animals being used in Circuses in the United Kingdom.”

Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North said: “I favour a ban on the use of animals in circuses. A ban is the right thing to do, and we should approach the issue in that spirit. Fewer than 40 animals would need to be re-homed and so a ban would not only be a statement of principle but a pragmatic approach to the necessary task of preventing animal cruelty.”

And Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Ayelsford said: ”The UK Government really needs to make a stand on this ban and not be fearful of a potential legal challenge from Europe. We were once world renowned as a nation of animal lovers, but while there are still wild animals in circuses, we cannot make that declaration. We are calling on our colleagues not to fear legal challenges from Europe and to support the motion.”

A copy of the joint letter to the Prime Minister can be viewed here: http://www.ad-international.org/admin/downloads/prime_minister_letter_regarding_animals_in_the_circus_(1).pdf

Mark Pritchard MP, Jim Fitzpatrick MP and Bob Russell MP have secured a three hour backbench cross party debate to discuss the issue in the Chamber on Thursday 23 June commencing at 3pm and running to 6pm.

Immediately afterwards a vote is expected to be taken urging that the Coalition Government uses its powers to introduce a regulation banning the use of all wild animals in circuses.

This debate will provide politicians with the perfect opportunity to take a strong stand against the Government’s recent decision not to implement an outright ban and will demonstrate to the Prime Minister the depth of feeling with regard to this important animal welfare issue.

Tim Phillips, ADI’s Campaigns Director said: “We urge all MPs that have signed animal protection Early Day Motions in the past as well as front and back benchers from all political parties to attend the debate, speak up for wild animals in circuses and vote yes to the motion urging the government to enact a ban.

“It is imperative that all politicians contribute to this debate to make this process as democratic and transparent as possible."

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.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Media Contact:
Phil Buckley, Media Relations Director, Animal Defenders International, 07716 018250, 0207 630 3344, prdesk@ad-international.org

Photographs are available on request. Interview opportunities are available.

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.

National measures to prohibit or limit the use of animals in circuses have been adopted in Austria, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, India, Israel, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Singapore, and Taiwan. Local bans have also been implemented in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Chile.

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.


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