(ADI Press Release) Green Party MP Caroline Lucas last week headed up an Animal Defenders International (ADI) deputation to Downing Street which secured a commitment from Prime Minister David Cameron for action to ban wild animal circuses.
She was joined by Stanley Johnson, Peter Tatchell, MPs Adrian Sanders, Jim Dowd and John McDonnell, and ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer to deliver an elephant shaped letter to Downing Street signed by 75 celebrities and politicians.
Members of the deputation asked Prime Minister David Cameron to rapidly bring forward the Government’s draft bill that will ban wild animals from circuses, to which Prime Minister David Cameron responded “Yes, we are going to do it.”
(Above) Caroline Lucas joins the Animal Defenders International deputation to Downing Street. Left to right: ADI Jim Dowd, Caroline Lucas, Stanley Johnson, Jan Creamer, Peter Tatchell, John McDonnell, Adrian Sanders (Copyright Animal Defenders International).
Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas: “The use of wild animals in circuses is cruel and should be stopped immediately. The Government has had long enough to bring the necessary legislation forward and I hope that they will do so before the next General Election so this issue can be dealt with once and for all.”
ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, “Thank you to Caroline Lucas for supporting ADI and speaking up for animals suffering in circuses. We are delighted that David Cameron promised the ADI deputation that he will bring forward the ban on wild animals. After a 20 year wait the public wants to see this done and if the Government fails to deliver on this promise, it will be directly responsible for continued animal suffering.”
The delay in bringing in the ban has seen the return of big cats to the UK – a lion and tiger act presented by Thomas Chipperfield, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield, who was prosecuted for animal cruelty following an ADI exposé in the late 1990s, is now performing with Jolly’s Circus, one of only two circuses still to perform with wild animals in England, and the only act of its kind in the country.
Following ADI’s shocking revelations of the brutal violence and constant chaining of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus – whose owner was found guilty of offences under the Animal Welfare Act – the Government announced its intention to ban wild animals in circuses “at the earliest opportunity”.
A draft Bill was published last March, however little progress has been made since then. ADI has raised concerns that unless the ban is urgently progressed, its implementation date of December 2015 may be missed, resulting in the continued suffering of animals. ADI has raised further concerns that the draft Bill allows a loophole that could mean wild animals continue to tour with circuses.
Over 200 local authorities in the UK have bans on the use of animals in circuses in place. Scotland is currently consulting the public on the issue and the Welsh Assembly has pledged its support for a ban.
Ministers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have indicated that they will “investigate the possibility of an ‘all-island approach’ to the issue of wild animals travelling in circuses”.
25 countries worldwide have placed national restrictions on the use of animals in circuses, with several others under discussion.
Public support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses has been consistently high for 15 years. A 2010 Defra consultation showed a resounding 94.5% of the British public support a ban on wild animal acts. In 2011, 63% of MPs agreed that the Government should ban the use of wild animals in circuses.