Pressure is mounting on the Government to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
Eleven MPs have signed a Commons motion praising The Independent's campaign and petition against the practice, which has attracted more than 22,000 signatures.
The MPs warn that the licensing scheme proposed by ministers will fail to protect circus animals. Instead, they urge the Government to use its powers under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to bring in a regulation banning wild animals in circuses without delay.
The early day motion, tabled by Gavin Shuker, Labour MP for Luton South, has been signed by nine Labour colleagues and Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party.
It accuses ministers of using a "an Austrian court case which does not exist" to argue against a ban. The European Circus Association has threatened to challenge a ban imposed by the Austrian Government but the action has not begun. The motion also questions the use by ministers of the UK's Human Rights Act as an excuse for not outlawing the use of wild animals.
Further pressure for a rethink came from the Animal Defenders International (ADI) pressure group, which challenged a claim by ministers that a ban would require new legislation. It agreed with the MPs that the practice could be stopped quickly by using the 2006 Act.