Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Welsh Assembly pledges support for wild animal circus ban

Posted: 25 June 2013. Updated: 27 June 2014

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is delighted that the Welsh Assembly has pledged support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. This follows the Coalition Government unveiling a Bill, currently being reviewed in Committee, to ban such acts in England.

In a written answer in the Welsh Assembly the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies, stated “I intend writing to Lord de Mauley confirming my predecessor’s view on working with the UK Government and seeking an extension to the offence of using a wild animal in a circus to Wales”.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive for Animal Defenders International: “We are delighted that the Welsh Assembly has made a clear commitment on this matter and urge the Government to put the proposed legislation before Parliament as soon as possible. We also hope that the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly will make similar commitments. ADI’s investigations in the UK have repeatedly exposed violence and confinement and shown that animal circuses are no place for wild animals. The public have been backing ADI’s calls for a ban for over a decade so the ban being promised is long overdue.”

Currently, two circuses are touring the UK with wild animals, Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus. Last month, Defra released inspection reports and licence applications for both circuses, which illustrated a number of welfare issues and highlighted how regulation of the circus industry cannot protect the welfare of the animals.

Anne the elephant with Bobby Roberts Circus was the last elephant to tour the UK before being retired in 2011 after ADI investigators filmed her chained and being abused at the circus winter quarters. Owner Roberts was convicted in late 2012 of cruelty based on the ADI evidence. Shocking abuse of the elephants at the Great British Circus was also caught on film by ADI in 2009. However until the new law is passed it remains legal to tour the UK with any wild animals including elephants, rhinos, bears, and primates – all of which have toured the UK in the past.

The Government’s draft Bill would ban wild animals (animals not commonly domesticated in the UK) by 1 December 2015. The Bill is currently being scrutinised by the EFRA Committee to whom ADI has submitted written evidence. ADI is calling on parliament to progress the Bill swiftly so that it is passed this year.

During a meeting with the previous Welsh Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development John Griffiths in February, ADI was heartened to hear of his support for the ban on wild animals in circuses. This intent was intimated by the Minister in response to an oral question in the Welsh Assembly in January, and was reaffirmed during the meeting.

For further information and updates on ADI’s campaign to end the use of wild animals in UK circuses please see



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

Interviews available on request
Film and photographs of animals in UK circuses are available from ADI

Welsh Assembly Written Answer 20.06.13

Rebecca Evans (Mid and West Wales): What measures does the Minister intend to take to help ensure that the UK Government’s Bill for England and Wales banning the use of wild animals in circuses is fit for purpose and achieves a total ban on the use of wild animals by UK, or visiting circuses, in Wales?

The Minister for Natural Resources and Food (Alun Davies): I have had discussions with UK Government Ministers on a range of issues and we agreed that, where it made sense, legislation that could meet our separate Government’s objectives should be undertaken jointly.

Following the publication of DEFRA’s Command paper 8538 on Wild Animals in Circuses, I intend writing to Lord de Mauley confirming my predecessor’s view on working with the UK Government and seeking an extension to the offence of using a wild animal in a circus to Wales.

National restrictions on performing animals in traveling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 21 countries, including Austria, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Poland, Portugal, Peru, Singapore, Sweden and Taiwan.

Animal Defenders International
With offices in London, Los Angeles 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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