Animal Defenders International (ADI), the leading animal protection organisation that works globally for the protection of animals has stepped up its campaign to ban the use of wild animals in circuses – and Clive Betts MP for Sheffield South East, has pledged his support.
In a show of unity, Mr Betts, ADI representatives and over 20 MP’s from all political persuasions gathered on Wednesday 2nd February at Parliament, to pledge their commitment to securing a ban on the use of wild animals in UK circuses, and calling on the Minister responsible Lord Henley to finally action what the UK is calling out for.
Mr Betts is one of 162 politicians who have now signed a parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) 403 calling for the wild animal ban to be implemented. He said,
“I feel very strongly in support of a total ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. Circuses are not a place to see animals in their natural environment.”
Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International said: “We applaud Clive Betts MP for helping strike a blow for wild animals currently languishing in UK circuses.
“We have been encouraged by the results of our recent political opinion poll and by the results of government’s own public consultation last year that found nearly 100 per cent of the public were behind a total ban.
“It is now abundantly clear to us that public and political support for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses has never been stronger. This process has been trundling along for over five years, and it is now time that government listened to the will of the UK people and enacted a ban.”
A recent 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. Government’s own public consultation in March 2010 also found that 94.5% of respondents backed a ban on wild animal acts.
162 politicians have now signed Early Day Motion (EDM) 403 ‘Wild Animals In Circuses’, tabled by former Defra Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP, which states there is no obstacle to a ban on wild animals in circuses and a ban should be implemented. This shows strong cross-party support for a ban on animals in circuses in the UK Parliament, and demonstrates the depth of feeling as this is one of the top number of signatories to an animal welfare EDM.
All present on Wednesday agreed that the draconian use and abuse of animals in circuses is no longer acceptable, and that self regulation of the industry, which is being considered as a viable route by the Minister, is totally flawed, as effectively the abusers themselves are being asked to self regulate.
ADI has already provided government with a wealth of overwhelming evidence from undercover investigations that graphically shows that random violence and abuse is an unfortunate part of everyday life for animals currently languishing in circuses. Both evidence and opinion is now overwhelming, and government needs to act decisively and enact a total ban.
ADI’s investigation into the Great British Circus (GBC) in 2009 showed that violence against animals in circuses is far from an exceptional occurrence and at the very least circuses cannot provide an environment in which the welfare needs of wild animals can effectively be met.
Their exposé of the horrific abuse of elephants put wild animals in circuses back on the political agenda and the damning evidence from this investigation was presented to Government, which helped prompt a three month public consultation of animal circuses, the results of which were condemning for UK circuses.
And the GBC was not an isolated case. Previously ADI exposed systematic and random cruelty of animals at the Chipperfields circus a decade before as part of an undercover investigation. When this material was released as the ‘Ugliest Show on Earth’, it was credited with bringing the UK’s animal circus industry to its knees.
The spread of years shows that these abusive practices have been common for a long time and are considered as acceptable within the industry. Video collected by ADI from other overseas countries also confirms these practices are endemic – and no other animal industry has been so repeatedly caught on film abusing animals.
ADI has put together a video which depicts the random abuse of wild animals in several UK circuses over the last fifteen years which can be viewed at: www.ad-international.org/adi_uk, under the heading ‘Self Regulation, Are They Serious?’ and are urging the Minister to watch the video as part of his deliberations.