10,000 back <i>Independent</i> circus animals petition

Four days after its launch more than 10,000 people have signed the Independent’s petition calling on the Government to ban circuses from using wild animals.

[The petition has been so succesful that we have decided to double the petition target to 20,000 signatories. Please help by sharing this article and links to the petition at independent.co.uk/circusanimals.]

More than 10,000 supporters have so far lent their names to the campaign, while hundreds of Twitterers have tweeted their backing and urged followers to sign the online petition.

As The Independent disclosed last week, the Government is expected within days to announce its decision on whether to ban wild animals from performing in the big top.

While ministers in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) say they are “minded” to support a ban, Downing Street is understood to have blocked one because of concerns about increasing “red tape”.

Around 20 wild animals including tigers, zebras and pythons currently perform tricks in three UK circuses. The Great British Circus is breeding lions for performance in coming years.

The circuses say their wild animals are well-cared for, are not forced to perform tricks and have large enough enclosures.

Animal welfare experts at the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association say that circus life is unsuitable for wild animals because of the constant travel, loud crowds, and enclosures that are smaller than the minimum sizes recommended for zoos.

The RSPCA, BVA, Captive Animals Protection Society and the Born Free Foundation are backing The Independent’s campaign, launched on Friday.

The organisation which shot the undercover footage showing the beating of Anne the elephant by a groom at Bobby Roberts Super Circus yesterday expressed its support too.

Animal Defenders International has been campaigning to end the use of wild animals in circuses for a decade.

Helder Constantino, ADI’s Head of Parliamentary Affairs, said: “We have exposed the suffering that they endure in UK circuses in several shocking investigations, including in the Great British Circus in 2009 and Bobby Roberts Circus in 2011.

“It's time for the Government to end this anachronism once and for all, and ADI wholeheartedly support The Independent's campaign to ban the use of animals in circuses."

The petition has been so succesful that we have decided to double the petition target to 20,000 signatories. Please help by sharing this article and links to the petition at independent.co.uk/circusanimals.

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