Circus wild animal ban U-turn is another broken Tory promise

Bills have been blocked 12 times since 2015


I’m astonished that, in 2017, we still allow majestic wild animals to be held in captivity for circuses. So I’m working with Animal Defenders International to support their cross-party campaign to end this practice once and for all.

The Conservatives pledged, in their 2015 manifesto, to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. So did the Green Party, and just about every other party in parliament.

But the government still hasn’t introduced legislation to make good their promise.

Even worse, backbench attempts to legislate for this ban have been repeatedly blocked by three Conservative MPs – Andrew Rosindell, Christopher Chope and Philip Davies.

Bills have been blocked 12 times – a massive waste of parliamentary time and a blocking of a manifesto promise, as well as an outrage against these wild animals.

If you needed any convincing about the barbarity of those MPs’ behaviour, Born Free International has put together a video of horrid mistreatment of circus animals:

The public back this ban. When the Scottish government consulted on its proposal to ban the practice, an overwhelming 96 per cent of respondents backed a ban.

Experts agree. The Welsh government consulted with 658 experts, who told them that the scientific evidence showed animals don’t ‘achieve their optimal welfare requirements’ in these circumstances. Stuffy language aside, they found the evidence clearly supported a ban.

Kevin Foster MP has another ban Bill on the books, up for its second reading on the 24th.

If Tory backbenchers manage to scupper it again, I will be there waiting. I’ve tabled an oral question for the 1st March, at which I intend to ask the government whether it will put the matter to rest once and for all and back this Bill.

They might say parliamentary time shouldn’t be wasted on ‘minor’ issues like this while they have Brexit to deal with, but the issue will keep coming back and using up Parliamentary time until they see it through.

Brexit could lead to a whole host of animal protections being weakened or strengthened. Lots will be up for grabs. What better way to signal that the government takes animal protection seriously?

Jenny Jones is a Green Party peer and a former London Assembly Member

2 Responses to “Circus wild animal ban U-turn is another broken Tory promise”

  1. KJP

    I am against animal cruelty but I don’t like sophistry.
    Of course 96% of respondents backed a ban because only those backing the ban responded.
    Even worse, experts would probably also say dogs and cats don’t ‘achieve their ‘optimal welfare requirements’ whilst in animal shelters. It does not follow that they want them banned.

  2. LPR

    KJP not only those backing the ban responded (or it would have been 100%). Here is a breakdown of all the responses:

    Also, the 658 experts also concluded that life for circus animals is neither a “good life” nor a “life worth living”. They say ““Traditional animal training methods are coercive and based on force and aggression”, and that circus trainers “have few or not recognised qualifications or formal training”.
    You’re right, from the quote it doesn’t necessarily follow that they want a ban, but they do. They say “the evidence would therefore support a ban on using wild animals in travelling circuses and mobile zoos on animal welfare grounds.”

    The group of 658 experts was made up of: 138 animal trainers and circuses, 206 lawyers and veterinarians with expertise in wild animal welfare, 107 people working for NGOs, 144 biologists, researchers, behavioural and species experts, 58 zoo and wild animal sanctuary staff, and relevant government officials and wildlife experts.

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