Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Welsh ban on “ethically unacceptable” circus acts has overwhelming support

Posted: 31 January 2019. Updated: 4 February 2019

A ban on wild animal circuses in Wales has received overwhelming support from respondents to a Welsh Government consultation on the proposed legislation. The Government announced in July 2018 its intention to bring in such a ban.

Animal Defenders International (ADI), who responded to the consultation and, for more than 20 years, has been documenting and campaigning to end the suffering of animals in UK circuses, now urges the Government to introduce the legislation as soon as possible.

In its summary of responses to the public consultation on the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Wales) Bill, the Welsh government states: “A ban will send a clear message that the people of Wales believe this practice to be an outdated notion and ethically unacceptable”.

  • 97% support legislation to make it an offence for a wild animal to be used in a travelling circus.
  • 97% agree that a ban would have a positive impact on attitudes of children and young people towards animals.
  • More than 6,500 individuals/organisations took part.

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International, said: “We are delighted but not surprised to see such incredible support for a ban. Having documented suffering and abuse in UK circuses for many years, ADI looks forward to the day when the suffering at last stops, in Wales and across the UK.”

Around the world, 45 countries have already introduced prohibitions on animals in circuses including Scotland and Ireland. After years of promises, the UK Government committed in February 2018 to ban wild animals in circuses by January 2010.

Given the constant travel and their temporary nature, circuses cannot provide animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy. Welfare is inevitably compromised.

A Welsh Government-commissioned report, published in 2016 and in support of a ban, found that “Life for wild animals in travelling circuses…does not appear to constitute either a ‘good life’ or a ‘life worth living’”.

Changing attitudes and awareness of animal suffering have seen the number of circuses with wild animals in Britain plummet. Only two remain: Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus which are licensed in England and tour Wales. A third circus with big cats also performed in Wales when owner Thomas Chipperfield was unable to obtain a licence in England; since refused a licence, it has remained off the road.

ADI revealed the miserable lives of Chipperfield’s lions and now one tiger. Living caged on the back of a truck, the animals are shut behind metal shutters at night, with restricted access to an outdoor exercise area during the day. ADI has also documented appalling overcrowding, fighting between animals, a worker tormenting a camel, animals kept inside for days on end, and failure to comply with government regulations at the winter quarters of Peter Jolly’s Circus.

In support of ADI’s Stop Circus Suffering campaign in Wales, Hollywood star and Welsh actor Rhys Ifans slammed the use of wild animals in circuses saying, “Like bear baiting, witch burning and the ‘Welsh not’, this cruel practice belongs in the past”.

Media contact Devon Prosser 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

© Animal Defenders International 2020