Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Regulations for wild animals in circuses approved in the Commons despite continued opposition

Posted: 30 October 2012. Updated: 30 October 2012

The House of Commons has today passed legislation to regulate the use of wild animals in circuses through licensing, following a committee debate yesterday afternoon. Lord de Mauley will now propose that the legislation be approved in the House of Lords on Tuesday 6 November at 2.30pm.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is dismayed that the government is pushing through legislation which will not protect wild animals in circuses and is wasting both taxpayers’ money and parliamentary time.

ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer: “Like the badger cull, the government’s handling of the issue of wild animals in circuses has been an absolute shambles. For just a handful of circuses, Defra is jumping through hoops to ensure that licensing is implemented, when the ban that the public and parliament was promised would be simpler and cheaper to implement, and receive the approval of the public, welfare groups and politicians.”

The Commons committee met last night to discuss the regulations ahead of the motion. This was, unsurprisingly, a heated affair with committee members vociferous in their criticism of the legislation and citing many of the welfare concerns raised by ADI.

An attempt by Mark Pritchard MP to obtain a commitment from Defra Minister David Heath as to whether a bill to ban wild animals in circuses would be put before Parliament in 2015 was met with stalling tactics, with Mr Heath responding: “What I can commit to is the commitment that has already been made, which is that we will bring forward a draft Bill in this Session and, if that meets with parliamentary approval, it will be our intention to introduce a Bill for substantive scrutiny and to make it law”.

Tom Harris MP summed up the frustration: “A ban has the backing of Parliament, of the public and of animal welfare groups. Despite that, and for a reason that I am struggling to fathom, the Government have dragged their feet and focused a great deal of time and so many resources and—pertinently, in this time of austerity—spent a lot of money, including the amount of money needed to enforce these regulations in the future, on these draft regulations. Why did they not just get on with the job of legislating for a ban?”

ADI will continue to fight for the ban that was promised by the government in back in March.


Media contact
Angie Greenaway, Animal Defenders International
Tel: 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

Outcome of House of Commons Committee debate
The Committee voted 10 for and 7 against the regulations.
AYES: David Burrowes, Douglas Carswell, Jane Ellison, David Evennett, David Heath, Andrew Jones, Sir James Paice, Mark Spencer, Andrew Stephenson, Roger Williams
NOES: Thomas Docherty, Mary Glindon, Tom Harris, Graham Jones, Kerry McCarthy, Siobhain McDonagh, Chris Williamson

National measures to restrict either all or wild animals in circuses, have been adopted in Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Malta, Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Taiwan, Singapore, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Costa Rica, India and Israel. Similar laws are being discussed in the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Norway.

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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