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Use of Wild Animals in Circuses

Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, Robert Flello, is promoting a Private Members Bill, Use of Wild Animals in Circuses, in the House of Commons in the British Parliament. The chances of this bill becoming law are not good. Generally, Private Members Bill do not become law unless they have the Government’s support.

The Conservative-led British Government opposes a ban on wild animals in circuses. It prefers and is preparing to introduce a licensing scheme to regulate wild animals in circuses. The licensing scheme will be the responsible of local authorities in England, which is the only part of the country in the UK this issue has jurisdiction over. Of course, the ConDem Coalition Government is taking many steps to make the ability of local authorities to fulfil their legal responsibilities very difficult, including cutting their funding. So, it is unlikely that local authorities will give the issue much of a priority. I read in reports that there are 39 wild animals in 3-4 circuses in operation in the UK at present. It is difficult to understand why a ban cannot be implemented with such a small number of animals involved.

The Bill was discussed this morning. Please find the time to watch the debate.

It is a fascinating insight into how animal welfare is discussed in British Parliamentary discourse. All the indications show that the British public overwhelmingly want to see a ban; however, the British Government won’t comply with public opinion. Sadly, the previous Labour Government could have done more on this issue. Nevertheless, the present Government is also failing to act and needs to be hold to account.

After listening to the debate, it seems to me that the reasons why the Government won’t ban wild animals in circuses lack any substance. So, given the public’s wish for a ban, why won’t the Government implement a ban?

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  1. June 8th, 2011 at 13:45 | #1

    Good comment on the debate and situation from Will Travers at Born Free. http://www.bornfree.org.uk/blog/2011/government-under-fire-over-circuses/

  2. June 8th, 2011 at 14:07 | #2

    Here’s ADI’s assessment of this morning’s, er, debate.

  3. Chris
    June 12th, 2011 at 10:24 | #3

    What was also outrageous is that Labour had 13 years to do something about this and instead did nothing at all, only bringing in consultation a few months before an election it almost certainly knew it was not going to win. They left Anne the elephant and other animals to suffer over three terms in government.

  4. Rose Hanscomb
    July 13th, 2011 at 08:21 | #4

    This is only one issue that needs to be voted on in Parliament regarding Animal Rights but there are many others. We need a bill to be passed at least on this issue, as there are relatively few wild animals in circuses operating in this country so it would be easy to pass, Public opinion I am sure would like this done. We have a circus that comes every year on to a private site, every year I object to our local council, every year they check that no animals are being cruelly treated but can do no more, although they would like to. The whole issue of wild animals spending their whole lives traveling the country or performing degrading acts is unacceptable.

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