We’ve joined forces with Born Free Foundation, British Veterinary Association and Captive Animals’ Protection Society to condemn the government on halting its own wild animals in circuses Bill.

Circuses are no fun for animals © RSPCA

In 2012, the Westminster Government announced it would finally grant wild animals in circuses in England their long overdue ban. Two and a half years later it appears that the government has turned its back on those animals.

Despite it’s Second Reading in Parliament on Friday (17 October) Jim Fitzpatrick MP’s Private Members Bill which is identical to the government’s own draft Bill, was inexplicably blocked  by the government. An objection by Andrew Rosindell MP stopped it in its tracks for a second time. Meanwhile animals still in circuses in the UK are being compromised.

The government has gone back on its word

Our head of public affairs, David Bowles, said:

“We believe that the government has gone back on its word and has turned its back on wild animals in the circus. It seems it no longer intends to deliver on their promise of a ban – which is the only way to truly safeguard the welfare of wild animals.


Without this ban there is nothing to prevent circuses acquiring more wild animals and more species. Even since the licensing scheme came in, four tigers and two lions have been imported into the country for performance. But the standards are poor and don’t even come close to the standards which modern zoos must adhere to, despite the welfare needs of those animals being the same.


The complex needs of wild animals can never be adequately met in a circus environment. Regular transport, cramped and bare temporary housing, forced training and performance are all unavoidable realities for the animals.


“The impact of circuses on animal welfare is serious and potentially debilitating for each and every animal involved.


Ninety-four per cent of the people who responded to a government consultation on this subject wanted a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.


“There has been a clear commitment by government to bring in a ban, yet time and again we have witnessed attempts to avoid taking action on this matter.”

Chris Draper of the Born Free Foundation said:

“The time for decisive action – an end to the use of wild animals in travelling circuses once and for all – is long overdue. There will always be competing government priorities; that does not mean that public and Parliamentary concern for animal welfare should be sidelined.”

Take action now

We’re calling on the public to let the government know how deep the public feeling is on this issue and urge their MP that the Bill to ban must be enacted to prevent further suffering. Act now for circus animals!

Find out more about wild animals in circuses.

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