Almost 27,000 have signed The Independent’s online petition calling for the Government to ban wild animals in circuses, pushing it within a few thousand of its target.
The Independent is hoping that 30,000 people will put their name to the petition by Thursday when MPs vote on whether to direct the Coalition to introduce a ban.
Animal welfare groups are concerned that some MPs who have signed Commons motions backing a ban will not turn up because the three-hour backbench debate takes place on a Thursday afternoon when many would normally return to their constituencies.
In the run up to the vote, the RSPCA and other organisations are encouraging supporters to contact their MP urging them to vote.
Meanwhile The Independent is making a final appeal for people to sign its petition.
Signing it, Jenny Parker, of Sherborne, Dortset, wrote: “I find it hard to believe that in the so-called enlightened 21st century that we still have to petition the Government to ban such cruel and unnatural acts as performing animals in circuses.” Annik Piriou, from Oxford, remarked: “I would prefer to see animals in their natural environment, even if it is only on TV.”
The Captive Animals Protection Society, which is backing The Independent’s campaign, appealed for the public’s help.
Its director Liz Tyson said: “The numbers showing their support for a ban is growing daily – demonstrated by the almost 27,000 people that have signed the Independent petition. Interestingly, a petition set up just six days after this one, showing the level of support for keeping animals in circuses currently boasts only 594 signatures.”
She added: “We know that there are almost 200 MPs that have formally pledged their support for a ban by signing the EDM and many more who have told us they are behind us on this one but without this support being translated into votes, the animals will continue to suffer. We implore MP's to attend the debate and make their opinion heard next Thursday.”
To sign The Independent’s petition, visit independent.co.uk/circusanimals
To find out you MP’s contact details, visit parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/