Animal Aid

Government turns its back on wild animals in circuses

Posted 16 May 2011

It has been confirmed (13 May 2011) that the government will not ban the use of animals in circuses, despite the majority of the public wishing it to do so. In a statement released by DEFRA, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced that a new licensing regime would be introduced for circuses that use animals, which will be enforced by government-approved vets.

For the past week, The Independent has run a campaign urging the government to go through with the ban and hosted a petition which collected nearly 15,000 signatures.

The government’s decision to reject a ban flies in the face of public opinion – 94 per cent of the 10,000 responses to the government consultation called for a ban on wild animals in circuses – and the encouraging statements released over the past year by DEFRA.

This is a massive blow for all the animals imprisoned in circuses, forced to perform demeaning tricks, and confined to sheds during winter months when they are not being carted all over the country.

The most recent undercover investigation by Animal Defenders International revealed the barbaric treatment of Anne the elephant and gave a glimpse into how circus animals are treated by their ‘keepers’. The public outcry over the story led to Anne being rehomed.

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