Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Celebrities bring wild animal circus ban fight to Parliament for crucial commons debate

Posted: 22 June 2011. Updated: 22 June 2011

In advance of the crucial Commons Debate to discuss a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses tomorrow, Animal Defenders International (ADI) and high profile supporters and celebrities are once again calling on the Government to reconsider their recent decision not to implement an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, and to now vote for a ban.

Brian Blessed, Annette Crosbie, Ricky Gervais, Meg Mathews, Brian May, Julia McKenzie, John Nettles, Mark Radcliffe, Alexei Sayle and Benjamin Zephaniah have all signed an open letter to the Prime Minister and are requesting that as many politicians as possible attend and vote for a ban tomorrow.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said: “Although the issue of wild animals in circuses has been discussed in Parliament, this is the first time that MPs will have a chance to vote on this issue. This is a unique opportunity for our parliamentarians to make a real difference for wild animals in circuses.

“We are extremely grateful to these well known personalities for their support, and we are calling on politicians to attend and do the right thing for animal welfare and protection by listening to the will of the nation.”

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 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.”

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

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.

ADI is co-ordinating a media call in advance of the debate, involving key cross party political figures, ADI spokespeople and supporters. This will take place tomorrow at 12.50pm, College Green (opposite Parliament), Abingdon Street, Westminster, London, SWIP.



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

Photographs are available on request. Interview opportunities are available.

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.

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 199 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.


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