Despite having been instructed by Parliament in 2011 to get wild animals out of circuses, David Cameron has been heel-dragging and stalling on implementing a ban. Whilst the government has finally begun work on draft legislation, it’s insisting on primary legislation which could take years, prolonging the suffering of wild animals in circuses, rather than enacting an immediate ban under section 12 of the Animal Welfare Act.
In 2011, a Defra consultation saw 94 per cent of respondents, including the British Veterinary Association, backing an end to this archaic form of entertainment. Earlier this year, PETA, along with other major animal protection organisations, boycotted a second pointless and costly consultation because the questions did not allow for the rejection of the licensing provision, which would enable abusive circuses to hide behind a veneer of respectability.
Wild animals in circuses commonly suffer from chronic health problems, abusive treatment, psychological disorders and aberrant behaviour, and many die prematurely. By virtue of the very nature of circuses – which confine animals to cages or boxcars, force them to perform tricks which are totally unnatural to them and deny them the opportunity to engage in natural behaviour – animal welfare can never be ensured in a circus environment. Please urge the Prime Minister to take action to protect wild animals used in circuses now.
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