Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Manifesto commitments on circus ban welcomed by ADI

Posted: 16 April 2015. Updated: 16 April 2015

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has welcomed the commitments from political parties to introduce a ban on wild animals in circuses, ahead of the General Election next month. The organisation has repeatedly exposed abuse of animals in British circuses.

After meetings with party officials and elected representatives, ADI is delighted that the Conservatives and Labour have committed to ending the use of wild animals in circuses while the Greens have pledged to extend the ban to include all animals. The Liberal Democrats and United Kingdom Independence Party have not included a specific pledge in their manifesto, but ADI has met with party representatives.

ADI leads the campaign to “Stop Circus Suffering”, exposing behind-the-scenes abuse of animals in circuses and highlights how regular transport, cramped and substandard enclosures, forced training and performance, loud noise and crowds are the unavoidable distressing realities for animals in circuses.

ADI President Jan Creamer said “We are delighted with the commitments made by the political parties to end the use of wild animals in circuses. When ADI exposed the horrific abuse of Anne the elephant, legislation was promised to ensure it could never happen again. There is overwhelming public support for a law to end the use of animals like lions, tigers, elephants, zebras and camels in travelling circuses and we look forward to working with the new Government to ensure the promised ban is passed swiftly.”

The issue of animal circuses has been on the political agenda for many years. In 2009, ADI exposed the abuse of elephants with the Great British Circus and the ensuing outrage led to a Government public consultation in 2010, which saw almost 95% of respondents back a ban on wild animal acts. In 2011, ADI exposed how Anne, an elderly elephant with Bobby Roberts Super Circus, was kept permanently chained and physically abused, resulting in a cruelty conviction for her owner. Backbench MPs followed this with a unanimous vote for a wild animal ban and a year later the Government agreed to pass legislation. A Government Bill was drafted in 2013 but simply gathered dust. In recent months, the legislation was presented to Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill by Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick, but was thwarted by a few rogue MPs who blocked it on 12 occasions, despite cross-party and Government support.

Whatever the make-up of the new Government, ADI will work to push for a commitment to introduce legislation in the first Queen’s Speech to ensure that the planned implementation date for a ban, December 2015, can be upheld.

Worldwide, 31 countries have national prohibitions on animal circuses and similar laws are under discussion in several more. Wales is committed to a ban and is seeking to be included in England’s legislation and Scotland is considering responses to a public consultation on the issue.

ADI is currently assisting authorities in Peru and Colombia to implement their animal circus bans and is seeking funds to rehome 33 ex-circus lions, an abused and nearly hairless endangered spectacled bear and over 40 other animals in its care

Contact: Fleur Dawes 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

Conservative Manifesto p56
Labour: Protecting Animals p2

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