After years of campaigning from animal right groups, we are delighted to hear that wild animal circuses are to be banned in England within two years. The amazing news has been welcomed by everyone, including legendary English actors Brian Blessed and Joanna Lumley, long-standing supporters of Animal Defenders International (ADI) and its campaign to stop circus suffering.
Brian Blessed said: “Having worked with ADI on this issue for many years, I am absolutely delighted that a wild animal circus ban is in sight. It cannot come soon enough for the animals, who must endure an utterly unnatural and miserable life in the circus.”
Joanna Lumley said: “Forced to perform, caged and confined, it is haunting and horrifying to see animals being used in circuses and I’m thrilled that action will finally be taken. We must end these pitiful acts across the UK; so please join me in backing ADI’s campaign to stop circus suffering today.”
We all remember the tang of animal smells and popcorn hitting our nostrils as we entered the circus tent as children, but times have changed and Britain feels differently these days about wild animals being used as performers.
There’s probably going to be a ban in England on wild animals in circuses, under plans that are to be announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, and we think it will be met with open arms by almost everyone.
There was, in fact, a public consultation which revealed that a whopping 94.5 per cent of people in England would support such a ban.
Scotland are ahead of the curve, having already passed legislation banning wild animals from the circus at the end of last year, and already more than half of local authorities in the UK refuse to let these types of circus perform in their areas.
It’s unusual for England to be so behind on regulations about animal rights – in fact we’re already behind 40 other countries, including Ireland, most of Europe, Latin America and several Asian countries.
We were promised a ban by David Cameron, way back in 2010, but the Government has been slow to take action. A ban looked likely again in 2015, when MPs widely supported a bill, but this then fell through after the snap election.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has continued to promise to introduce a ban ‘as soon as parliamentary time allows’.
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Animal rights campaigners became anxious that the hoo-hah around Brexit would take the heat off the legislation, but Mr Gove has said he’ll reintroduce the legislation in England later this year.
According to the RSPCA there are still 19 animals performing in travelling circuses across England. There have been debates on both sides of the fence about what would be best for these individuals, and where they could live out the remainder of their lives if not in the circus.
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