Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Wild animal circus ban blocked again, as big cats suffer in Scotland

Posted: 7 November 2014

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is dismayed that the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill introduced by Jim Fitzpatrick MP has been blocked for a fourth time by Conservative MP Christopher Chope. The latest setback to the bill comes as new footage filmed by ADI and reported in today’s Daily Mirror reveals the dismal daily lives of Britain’s last circus big cats.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “By blocking this incredibly important bill, these majestic animals are being condemned to a lifetime of misery. Our latest footage has revealed the reality of life for these circus animals and it is outrageous that this publicly supported measure continues to be sabotaged. We urge MPs and the Government to do all they can to allow this Bill to pass.”

The Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, introduced on 3rd September and which has the same wording as draft legislation published by Government last April, seeks to secure the ban promised by Government in 2012 ahead of the General Election, to ensure that the proposed implementation date of December 2015 is met. The ban enjoys cross-party support as well as that of the public and animal protection groups.

The circus Bill was blocked today Conservative MP Christopher Chope for unknown reasons. Conservative MPs Andrew Rosindell and Phillip Davies have blocked the circus Bill on three previous occasions, reportedly to allow an EU Referendum Bill to progress. This Bill has now been shelved, leaving no reason to oppose the circus Bill.

ADI considers that the Bill put forward by former Defra Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP provides the best opportunity to secure the ban. It will be put forward again for a second reading on November 21st.

The Government reiterated last month its support for a ban, with William Hague stating “we want to legislate on this matter” and the Prime Minister previously pledged to ban what he calls an “outdated practice”. Despite repeated promises, little progress has been made.

Britain is lagging behind 28 countries worldwide that have introduced prohibitions on animal circus acts. Just recently, Malta passed into law a ban on all animal acts, having published its draft legislation after a public consultation which, like Britain, found that 94% backed a ban last year. Over 200 local authorities in the UK also have bans on the use of animals in circuses on public land. Public attitudes have changed and the appetite for wild animal circus acts has plummeted, with only two circuses performing with wild animals in Britain today.

As a result of Government inaction, and as feared by ADI, there has been an increase in the number of wild animals in circuses and a big cat act has returned to Britain. New footage revealed today by ADI shows one of the three tigers used in the act pacing back and forth inside their ‘beastwagon’ in a muddy, exposed field in North Scotland. This abnormal, repetitive ‘stereotypic’ behaviour is not seen in the wild, but is commonly observed in circuses, and indicates that the animals are not coping with their unnatural lives.

The animals are owned by Thomas Chipperfield and will be spending the winter months on show to the public in their home – the truck they travel in. The big cats are the first wild circus animals to be seen in Scotland for several years, and their arrival has caused Aberdeen MSP Kevin Stewart to call on Scotland to ban such acts.

The campaign by ADI to Stop Circus Suffering is supported by a number of high profile celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Sir Roger Moore, Brian May, Moby, Imelda Staunton, Eddie Izzard, Twiggy, Annette Crosbie, Sir Paul McCartney and Dame Judi Dench, whose joint letter with ADI’s President was published in The Times last month.

ADI is currently working with authorities in Peru to enforce a circus ban and rehome the wild animals, as it has done before in Bolivia, as is charted in the award-winning documentary Lion Ark, which will be screened at cinemas across the UK from November 11th until December 17th.

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Contact: Fleur Dawes 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

The Wild Animals in Circuses Bill was introduced on Wednesday 3rd September by Jim Fitzpatrick MP. Co-sponsors of the bill are Jim Dowd, Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge; Roger Gale, Conservative MP for North Thanet; Philip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering; Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge; Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton, Pavilion; Naomi Long, Alliance MP for Belfast East; Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West; Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East; Dave Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon; Hugh Bailey, Labour MP for York Central, Russell Brown, Labour MP for Dumfries and Galloway; Thomas Docherty, Labour MP for Dunfermline and West Fife.

The text of the Bill is the same as the draft version published by the Government and scrutinised by a Committee of MPs last year.

Daily Mirror: “Prodded with sticks and caged in misery: The lions and tigers at “circus high school””

Circus bans worldwide

Lion Ark

Twitter #circusban

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, and educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

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