Circuses face wild animal ban in England
Circuses in England will be banned from using wild animals in their shows and exhibitions from 1st December 2015, under new government proposals announced on Tuesday.
Under the terms of the draft Wild Animals in Circuses bill, the ban will cover any creature not normally domesticated in Great Britain. Currently there are only two circuses – Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus that use around 20 licensed wild animals for their shows which include camels, llamas, zebras, snakes, gorillas and big cats.
The draft bill was introduced in the parliament by the junior environment minister, Robert Ponsonby, who admitted that “wild animals had been an integral part of British circus industry, offering the public probably their only glimpse of exotic animals”.
However, emphasising the need for change he later stated: “this legislation will end the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in the country and will also help ensure that our international reputation as a leading protector of animals continues into a new global era”.
Two years ago politicians voted to end the use of wild animals in circuses and since then animals rights groups had been pressing for change, although ministers feared legal actions from circus operators.
The agriculture minister, David Heath, told MPs: “the two year ‘grace period’ is to allow operators of travelling circuses a reasonable period of time to adapt their businesses and organise suitable care arrangements for their wild animals”.
The announcement was welcomed by conservative MP, Tony Mark Pritchard, whose backbench motion in 2011 calling for a ban was approved exclusive of a vote in the commons. He said he was “delighted that the government has finally decided to introduce a ban.”
Also responding to the news animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) remarked how pleased they were with the decision. A statement read: “It’s time for animal abusers to pack their bags and say goodbye to wild-animal circuses. For the sake of the animals, the show must not and finally will not go on”.