Campaigns | Guest Editors | Mammals | Birds | Underwater | Landscapes | Pets | Other

94.5% of people against wild animals in circuses, yet Government won’t ban

by Darren

Update:  We are now using the #bigstop hashtag on Twitter for this campaign and James Barisic has produced a template letter that you can send to your local MP to ask them to support this call.

Last night I told you about the origin of the penguins that were going to be used for the stunt at Hamleys that we all managed to stop.  The people involved have close association with the Chipperfield circus family, and presumably decided to concentrate more on this aspect of their business when their name was sullied due to the filming of acts of cruelty by Mary Chipperfield and her subsequent conviction just over ten years ago.

Well I’ve been researching the situation, and I’ve discovered something even more disturbing.  The Government’s own consultation says 94.5% of people are against wild animals in circuses, yet my sources tell me that either this Thursday (the last day of the Parliamentary session, a good day to bury anything you don’t want to get attention) or early in the New Year, the Government may announce that they aren’t going to ban wild animals in circuses, but hand over regulation to the circus industry itself!  We have heard mutterings that they may be intending to use an outfit consisting of a self-appointed animal trainer and circus vet going by the name ‘Performing Animals Welfare Standards International, or PAWSI for short‘, as the industry regulator.

There are four circuses which use live wild animals still operating in Britain, the most notable of which is the Great British Circus.  I listened to a clip recently where a radio interviewer was subjected to shocking abuse while speaking to Martin Lacey, the owner. The Great British Circus has animals including lions, tigers, elephants, zebra and camels.

I’m desperate that we should get a ban on performing animals in shops, but everybody involved is telling me that due to this imminent announcement, we need to deal with the travelling circus situation first, and they’re right.  There are links – the people involved are the same, but it is a separate issue.  Wild animals  in circuses have been banned in Austria, Costa Rica, Singapore and Israel.  Other countries including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, India, Sweden, Belgium, Estonia and Poland have restrictions on the use of certain animals in circuses.

94.5% of people in the UK are against circuses, over 2oo British local authorities ban the use of animals in circuses and 151 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion in support of a ban on the use of animals in circuses, yet the Government may be about to hand over the keys to the very industry responsible for the problem.

So, we need to make a noise again this week.  We need to contact Members of Parliament, DEFRA and DEFRA ministers and we need to contact the RSPCA Wildlife Department whose advice to the Government on this issue will be key.  I’ve asked James to help us out with things like template letters and another one of his wonderful hashtags so we can let others know what is going on.  We also need to know more about PAWSI so if you have time then please go and dig around and let us know what you find.
We need to make it clear that having told the Government that we think performing wild animals in circuses is wrong.
Three days to change their mind.

It’s a tall order, but we can do it.