Animal welfare groups urge PM to ban wild animals in circuses

A A A

Ten animal welfare organisations have written to the Prime Minister urging him to introduce a ban on wild animals in UK circuses.

Dave Cameron is understood to have personally vetoed Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman’s plan to remove tigers and other animals from the big top.

The groups, including the RSPCA, World Society for the Protection of Animals, and PETA, say the Government’s stated reason for doing a U-turn on a ban – the threat of legal action – is “a complete red herring.”

They write: “The UK’s continued failure to ban the outdated practice of using wild animals in circuses, whilst many other countries have already done so, undermines the UK’s international reputation on animal welfare.”

More than 25,000 people have signed The Independent’s petition calling for the Government to introduce a ban. To sign, click here (Independent.co.uk/circusanimals)



Text of letter to the Prime Minister:



Rt Hon David Cameron MP

The Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA



Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you on behalf of our hundreds of thousands of supporters urging you to ensure the coalition government reviews its recent decision not to prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses.

The reasons given by Defra Ministers for not introducing a ban – alleged legal proceedings against Austria’s ban and potential infringements of the Human Rights Act – have been shown to be inaccurate. More importantly, the focus on these issues is a complete red-herring. The European Commission has made clear on numerous occasions that Member States are best placed to legislate on animal welfare, including banning the use of wild animals in circuses, by the introduction of national rules. Furthermore, the risk assessment carried out for the public consultation on this matter made it very clear that “there are no human rights issues raised by these proposals”.

Anne the elephant and Monty the camel were recently rehomed from Bobby Roberts Super Circus, leaving only three circuses in the UK which continue to resist public pressure. Between them they keep an estimated 36 wild animals. The UK’s continued failure to ban the outdated practice of using wild animals in circuses, whilst many other countries have already done so, undermines the UK’s international reputation on animal welfare.

There has been much confusion in statements from Ministers on this matter leading to accusations that Defra Ministers have misled Parliament and the public. We believe that in order to ensure the government has the confidence of the public, circus owners and animal welfare charities it should put its plans on hold whilst it reviews this decision.

We, along with 94% of the public who responded to the public consultation on this matter, believe that the only way to ensure high animal welfare standards is to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. This is clearly both the most proportionate and effective means of protecting animals.

We believe that the majority of the public would join us in asking the government to urgently reconsider this decision and bring forward a ban.



Yours sincerely,

Animal Aid

Animal Defenders International (ADI)

British Veterinary Association (BVA)

Born Free Foundation (BFF)

Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS)

Care for the Wild International (CWI)

Four Paws

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) UK

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: IT Recruitment Consultant

£22500 - £30000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking for experie...

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Handyman

£16575 - £18785 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Dundee based butchers requ...

Recruitment Genius: Confectionery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To effectively manage a team which is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Workshop Deputy & Production Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A rare and exciting role has arisen within thi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat