Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Disappointment as wild animal circus ban omitted from Queen’s speech

Posted: 4 June 2014. Updated: 27 June 2014

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has expressed its immense disappointment that the bill to ban wild animals in circuses has not been included in the Queen’s speech, for a second year and as anticipated, following a number of commitments made by Government.

ADI President, Jan Creamer, “ADI is immensely disappointed that a year after legislation was finally drafted, no further progress has been made to bring an end to the suffering of wild animals in circuses. This is an issue which the Government has committed to take action on, and has overwhelming support from the public and politicians. Britain is now lagging behind 27 countries worldwide that have already introduced national measures on this issue. We urge the Prime Minister to press ahead, as promised, and bring in the ban without further delay.”

ADI has led the campaign against the use of animals in circuses for over 15 years and its undercover footage – which has been responsible for securing the only convictions of circus personnel in the UK to date – has shocked and informed the nation, changing public attitudes. Inherent suffering and commonplace violence in the industry has seen the number of circuses with wild animal acts plummet in the same period from 20 to just two.

The brutal violence and constant chaining of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus – captured on film by ADI – led to the conviction of the owner, found guilty of offences under the Animal Welfare Act, and a commitment by the Government to ban wild animals in circuses “at the earliest opportunity”.

The Government announced in March 2012 its intention to introduce legislation to prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses. The Draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill was published last April with a proposed implementation date of December 2015, but progress has since stalled. Earlier this year, David Cameron reaffirmed his commitment to ban wild animal acts to an ADI delegation headed by former Conservative MEP and conservationist Stanley Johnson, and social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell. The pair delivered a letter to the Prime Minister calling for urgent action on a circus ban which was signed by 75 celebrities and politicians including Dame Judi Dench, Brian Blessed, Dominic West, Eddie Izzard, Julian Clary, Michaela Strachan, Prunella Scales CBE, Timothy West CBE, Ann Widdecombe, June Brown, Ben Goldsmith and Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle MP. Sir Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais, Sir Roger Moore, Imelda Staunton and Brian May have also spoken out to support the campaign.

Delays in bringing in the ban have seen the return of big cats to the UK – a lion and tiger act from Ireland presented by Thomas Chipperfield, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield, who was prosecuted for animal cruelty following an ADI exposé in the late 1990s. The animals are forced to perform with Peter Jolly’s Circus, one of only two circuses still touring with wild animals in England, and the only act of its kind in the country.

The continued use of wild animals in circuses is widely opposed by vets, animal welfare experts, animal protection groups, politicians and a huge majority of the public. Indeed, in response to a consultation by Defra on the issue, 94.5% of respondents supported a ban.

As part of its global Stop Circus Suffering campaign, ADI has secured a number of bans in Europe and South America and recently rescued and relocated 25 lions in Bolivia – documented in the award-winning action-documentary Lion Ark. ADI is currently liaising with the authorities in Peru to assist in the rescue and rehabilitation of its wild circus animals and has offered to assist in the relocation of animals in Britain to sanctuaries where they can be rehabilitated.

Jan Creamer: “ADI has helped countries enforce animal circus bans and would be only too happy to work with the Government and the industry to relocate prohibited species in Britain to sanctuaries where they will be able to live out the rest of their lives in peace.”

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NOTES

Images and video of animals in UK circuses are available on request

Sir Roger Moore and Imelda Stanton’s letter to the Queen

Prime Minister receives letter signed by 75 celebrities and commits to ban wild animals in circuses

Sir Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais and Brian May quotes of support for a ban

History of the ADI campaign to end the use of wild animals in UK circuses

Wild Animals in UK Circuses: Questions & Answers

ADI exposé of Anne the elephant at Bobby Roberts Super Circus

Peter Tatchell’s Huffington Post blog on wild circus animals

Dods: Queen’s Speech 2014: Speculation and Insight p8-9

Twitter #circusban

National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 27 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, and Taiwan. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, Brazil, Chile, Malta, Mexico and The Netherlands.

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. http://www.ad-international.org

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