Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

New circus ban bill provides fresh hope for wild animals

Posted: 9 February 2016

MP takes action as government continues to stall on promised legislation

A new bill to ban wild animals in English circuses could provide long-suffering circus animals with the reprieve they desperately need. Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling on MPs to support The Wild Animals in Circuses (Prohibition) Bill being presented by Conservative MP Will Quince on Wednesday, 10 February. The move comes as the government continues to stall on passing legislation promised four years ago to ban wild animal acts.

Calling for MPs to get behind the Ten Minute Rule Motion, ADI President Jan Creamer said: “The government made a commitment to the public to ban wild animal circuses and yet four years on, the animals are still waiting for protection. ADI is urging MPs to back this bill.”

Will Quince, MP for Colchester who is introducing the new bill said: “The use of wild animals in travelling circuses can no longer be justified. Circuses can never recreate the natural habitat of a wild species. What’s more, there is no longer any educational, conservational nor research benefit from using wild animals solely for spectacle.”

“The majority of the public supports a ban, as do most MPs. I hope we follow the lead of many of our European neighbours and ban the use of wild animals in circuses once and for all.”

Although the Government claims that it remains committed to its 2012 promise to end what the Prime Minister has called an “outdated practice”, little progress has been made. Announcing the forthcoming ban, the Government said the legislation would “help ensure that our international reputation as a leading protector of animals continues into a new global era.” Britain now lags behind more than 30 countries around the world that have already restricted the use of wild animals in circuses.

Without prohibitive legislation ADI warns that there could be an increase in wild animal acts, with a new big cat circus already poised to return to England. Fronted by Thomas Chipperfield, the show was prevented from touring last year after an inspection found the living conditions for the lions and tigers to be inadequate.

Changing attitudes and awareness of animal suffering have seen the number of wild animal circuses plummet. Only two circuses now perform in England with wild animals, Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus, who are licensed under a temporary scheme introduced by the government ahead of the ban. ADI evidence has shown that inspections have not safeguarded welfare or protected animals from abuse.

Once a UK measure is passed, ADI has offered to assist with the relocation of circus animals, should the need arise. The organisation is currently working with authorities in Peru and Colombia to enforce similar legislation and has rescued and relocated over 100 animals during its 18-month Operation Spirit of Freedom mission. As part of this mission, 33 lions will soon be airlifted to the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. Following Bolivia’s ban on all animals in travelling shows, ADI undertook a similar mission, now documented in the multi award-winning film Lion Ark.

In the UK, ADI’s shocking revelations of the brutal violence and constant chaining of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus led to the cruelty conviction of her owner under the Animal Welfare Act and as a result, MPs demanded action to protect these animals.

ADI’s Stop Circus Suffering campaign is supported by celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Roger Moore, Brian May, Moby, Imelda Staunton, Eddie Izzard, Twiggy and Annette Crosbie. Expressing his exasperation at the lack of progress, actor Brian Blessed said last year “I am deeply opposed to the use of wild animals in circuses and have been working with Animal Defenders International to oppose such acts for many years. Despite repeated promises from the Government, we are still waiting for the law to pass and the animals are continuing to suffer. Please end this circus madness.”

Contact:
Devon Prosser +44 (0)20 7630 3344 or +44 (0)7785 552548 prdesk@ad-international.org

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