Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

No legal obstacles to UK ban on wild animals in circuses

Posted: 21 December 2011. Updated: 21 December 2011

‘Government objections to ban swept aside as court upholds Austria’s ban on wild animal acts’

TODAY, the Austrian Constitutional Court in Vienna announced that it had thrown out the application by Circus Krone to overturn Austria’s ban on wild animals in circuses.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has challenged the UK Government’s refusal to ban wild animal circuses in the face of overwhelming public and parliamentary support.

This decision clears the way for a UK ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and ADI is now calling on the Government to take immediate action to enact a ban putting an end to circus suffering in the UK.

The Government claimed earlier this year that there were legal impediments to a ban, and cited the upcoming Krone case – even before it had been lodged.

Now, the Government’s last so-called ‘impediment’ has gone. The Austrian Court told ADI that it: “could not find that such a ban would encroach on the applicant’s right “to practice every kind of gainful activity” guaranteed by the Basic Law of 21 December 1867 on the General Rights of Nationals in the Kingdoms and Länder represented in the Council of the Realm. Though the ban was interfering with this right, this interference was based on public interest (namely the protection of the animals) and both necessary and appropriate for the legislator to reach this goal. Thus the interference with the applicant’s right was justified and proportional.”

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said:

“This case proves that there are no obstacles at EU level that will prevent the UK from enacting an immediate ban.

“This is a wonderful Christmas present for all the animals suffering in UK circuses. The excuses presented by Defra officials in their attempts to avoid taking action to end the suffering have been swept away. The public want it, parliament wants it, the Government must listen, and act now. “


Notes to Editors:

Decision on, G 74/11, V 63/11, taken on December 1, 2011 can be viewed at

This latest development follows the Commons backbench debate in June, this year where MPs unanimously approved a motion directing the government to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Shortly after the Prime Minister was quoted as saying that he was ‘minded’ to ban.

Earlier this year, 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.

In 2010, a survey by Defra (Department of Enviroment, Food and Rural Affairs) resulted in a huge 94.5% public support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

Media Contact:
Phil Buckley
Media Relations Director
Animal Defenders International
Phone: 07716 018250 or 0207 7630 3344

Animal Defenders International
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.


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