Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Politicians push for Government action wild animal circus ban

Posted: 30 June 2015

MPs from across the political spectrum are joining forces in a new push to secure legislation to prohibit wild animal acts. An Early Day Motion backed by Animal Defenders International (ADI) calls on the Government to progress the animal circus ban, promised since 2012 and pledged in its election manifesto, “at the earliest opportunity”. On Friday, the Scottish Government announced the response to its public consultation showing 98% of people favour a ban on wild animal performances.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, who tabled the Bill said, “The Government has been promising to take action on wild animal circuses for over three years and it is now time to deliver that promise. I urge everyone to support Animal Defenders International in its efforts to secure this important legislation for the animals by asking your MP to sign this motion calling for Government action.”

ADI has spent over 15 years exposing behind-the-scenes abuse of animals in circuses and highlighting the damaging effects to animal welfare caused by frequent transportation, inadequate enclosures, forced training and performances. The abuse of three elephants at the Great British Circus revealed by ADI in 2009 caused public outrage and saw huge support for a ban on wild animal acts from almost 95% of people responding to a Government public consultation.

Subsequent ADI footage of Anne, an elderly elephant being kicked, beaten and kept permanently chained at Bobby Roberts Super Circus sent shockwaves across the UK and around the world. Anne’s owner was convicted of cruelty and political momentum built, with backbench MPs voting unanimously for a ban and the Government agreeing to pass legislation the following year. Draft legislation was published in 2013 but progress stalled, leading Jim Fitzpatrick MP to put it forwards as a Private Member’s Bill. Despite cross-party and Government support, it was thwarted by a few rogue MPs.

Conservative MP Sir David Amess said, “Few issues enjoy such phenomenal cross party support – a reflection of how opposed the country is to the outdated use of wild animals in circuses. We are now in a prime position to fulfil our duty to the public and the animals and bring these unethical acts to a swift end.”

ADI’s Stop Circus Suffering campaign has enjoyed overwhelming and consistent support from the public and politicians for many years. 94% of MPs stood for election on manifesto commitments to end wild animal circuses, with the Conservatives stating “we will ban wild animals in circuses”.

Conservationist, author and former MEP Stanley Johnson commented, “This impressively overwhelming show of support illustrates the desire and need to take decisive action to stop the suffering of wild animals in circuses. The Tory manifesto pledged to ban these exploitative and degrading acts and I will continue to support the efforts of Animal Defenders International to secure the promised ban.”

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, while Scotland will soon announce its plans, following a public consultation which showed 98% of respondents favoured a ban.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “The Government recognises that the circus is no place for wild animals, but urgent action must be taken to stop the suffering. Help animals today by asking your MP to support EDM 192.”

ADI is currently assisting authorities in Peru and Colombia to implement their animal circus bans. ADI has rescued almost 80 animals to date during Operation Spirit of Freedom and is seeking funds to care for and rehome 35 big cats and an endangered spectacled bear

Contact: Fleur Dawes 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

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