In a highly charged Commons Debate and free vote in London last Thursday, the UK Government was defeated by politicians and the nation who now demand an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses rather than a system of licensing.
Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park & North Kingston was supportive of the all-party motion, which called for the introduction of “regulation banning the use of all wild animals in circuses” from July 2012.
“There is no justifiable reason for keeping animals such as elephants, tigers, lions and so on in small, travelling cages, away from any semblance of what for them would be a normal life,” said Goldsmith. “Until recently the Government took the same view, but that changed somewhere along the line, and it’s hard to understand why. For one thing, the vast majority of people support a ban, and so too do most MPs.”
ADI Ambassador Meg Mathews added: “As an advocate of animal welfare, the footage released by ADI of poor Annie the elephant being so cruelly treated made me sick to my stomach. It’s time for this government to stop dragging its heels and finally take action to end the suffering that animals like Anne endure every day in UK circuses.”
Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International said: "We applaud Zac and Meg for playing such a proactive role in securing the debate, vote and victory and for helping to strike a historic victory for animal welfare and protection.
“The public demands a ban, animal welfare groups demand a ban and now politicians have made it abundantly clear that they demand a ban. A ban is therefore in the public interest and the Government now needs to press ahead with a ban without further delay. ADI will continue to fight to ensure that this ban becomes a reality.”
Over 50 MP’s from all the major parties unanimously backed the ban, and the Government has signalled that it will introduce one, ending forever the days of lions, tigers, elephants and other wild animals in the big top.
To maintain the momentum and ensure that Government keeps to its word, ADI is calling on people to write to their MP and Defra, requesting that they respect the will of the nation and implement a ban.
Last month, ADI released the results of its independent online poll carried out by YouGov, which asked impartial participants aged over 18 to what extent they would support or oppose a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. A massive 72% of the public backed a ban with only 8% against – almost 3 out 4 members of the public therefore wanted a ban.
Last year, a survey by Defra (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) resulted in a huge 94.5% public support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.
A recent independent parliamentary poll conducted by ADI found that 63% of MPs would like to see a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and only 14% disagreed.