Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals and I know this is a view shared by many people locally and animal welfare organisations. I also appreciate concerns about how a ‘travelling circus’ is defined in any legislation that is brought before Parliament.
The previous Labour Government had plans back in 2010 to ban wild animals in circuses and I share your frustration that the Coalition Government failed to legislate on this during the last Parliament. This is despite the House of Commons backing a ban and the Prime Minister stating that a ban would be introduced.
The Coalition Government published a draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill in 2013 but failed to find parliamentary time for this Bill, or for a Private Members’ Bill that was introduced by my parliamentary colleague Jim Fitzpatrick MP to finally ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
The current Government failed to include legislation on this in the Queen’s Speech in May this year, despite the fact that the Conservative election manifesto included a commitment to implement a ban.
An outright ban is long overdue and the 2015 Labour manifesto included a commitment to ban wild animals in circuses.
The current, alternative approach of licensing is ineffective and outdated.
I am also concerned at news that a new circus act ‘An Evening with Lions and Tigers’ is now touring the UK under the guise of an ‘education’ show. The need for a ban on wild animals in travelling circuses is plain.