Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Parliament votes for animal circuses ban

Posted: 23 June 2011

Overwhelming political support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses

In a highly charged one sided Commons Debate and free vote this evening, the Government has been left in absolutely no doubt that the nation now demands an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses rather than a system of licensing.

In a historic victory for animal welfare and protection, over 50 MP’s from all the major parties voted unanimously for an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, proving that there is an overwhelming political will for the ban. Three quarters of the Great British public have already backed a ban.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International said: “Politicians have now sent a clear instruction to the Government and they should now proceed with a ban. This debate and vote has exposed the Government and demonstrated just how out of touch they have been with their peers, the public, and animal welfare groups.

“This Debate was an opportunity to allow the House to express its views, and the Government really can not be in any doubt of the feeling of the nation. The Prime Minister now needs to listen to the will of the nation and invoke a ban.

“The public demands a ban, animal welfare groups demand a ban and now politicians have made it abundantly clear that they demand a ban. A ban is therefore in the public interest and the Government now needs to press ahead with a ban without further delay.”

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 therefore wanted 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 independent 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.

Mark Pritchard MP secured the debate and vote which had cross party support from Bob Russell, Jim Fitzpatrick and Caroline Lucas. Prior to the debate ADI held a media call with high profile politicians including Mary Creagh, Zac Goldsmith, Gavin Shuker, and ADI Ambassador and celebrity designer Meg Mathews.

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, provided the Government with the perfect opportunity to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.”

Mr Pritchard’s motion for debate was: that this House directs 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 to take effect by 1 July 2012.

Prior to the debate reports were circulating claiming that the Government has issued a strict instruction for their members to attend and vote against a ban this evening. It has also been suggested that the Prime Minister has become personally involved in the initiative. ADI is at a loss to understand what the motivation is for this.



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

Photographs and footage is available. Interview opportunities are available on request.

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 now time for the UK Government to do the same.


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