Dont have an account?Sign up here
3 December 2010
And request that he gives the ultimate Christmas gift to wild animals in circuses - their freedom
Animal Defenders International (ADI), the leading animal protection organisation that works globally for the protection of animals, is presenting a representative of Lord Henley - the government minister currently reviewing the use of wild animals in circuses - with an advent calendar at government headquarters.
The festive calendar has 24 windows, which when opened display quotes from politicians, celebrities, and ADI senior staff, all condemning the use of wild animals in circuses and requesting that government does the right thing in the New Year, by announcing a ban on their use. It also graphically illustrates the plight of wild animals currently being kept in UK circuses.
Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International said: "Christmas is the time for giving, so in conjunction with our political and celebrity friends we decided to present Lord Henley with an advent calendar counting down to an end to circus suffering.
"Circus animals have been waiting and waiting for an end to their suffering. We have had promises of a ban, calls in the Houses of Commons and Lords for a ban, public opinion polls calling for a ban, and a public consultation with an unprecedented 94.5% support for a ban. It is time for the Minister to give animals a real Christmas present and ban the use of wild animals in circuses."
Animal Defenders International has recently learnt that even now, after four years, the government is still toying with the idea of self regulation for the UK circus industry, even though they have already looked at this option on numerous occasions. Self regulation was also overwhelmingly rejected in Defra's public consultation.
Jan Creamer said: "The only thing that will protect wild animals in circuses is a ban. Our undercover investigations have exposed horrific abuse. The circuses have shown that self-regulation would be a disgrace and leave animals utterly vulnerable."
Any potential u-turn on a ban by government would show contempt of the promise made by the previous government five years ago to ban wild animals in circuses and the 94.5% of respondents to the Defra public consultation in March 2010 who have backed a ban on wild animal acts.
ADI has put together a video which depicts the random abuse of wild animals in several UK circuses over the last fifteen years which can be viewed at: www.ad-international.org/adi_uk, and have urged the Minister to watch the video as part of his deliberations.
Quotes provided by politicians and celebrities for the advent calendar include:
"The Government should take the lead of scores of other countries who have banned such practices. The use of wild animals is cruel and barbaric and should end as soon as possible." (Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin)
"I cannot for the life of me understand why the Government would want to allow animals to be used and abused in circus rings and then left caged up for the rest of their lives." (Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North)
"I have young children and there is absolutely no way that I would take them to a circus that had wild animals as I think it is cruel and unnatural." (Meg Mathews, celebrity designer and ADI supporter)
"The Labour Government had come to the conclusion that the evidence was there for a ban on wild animals performing in travelling circuses and that the public overwhelmingly wanted this. Only the General Election prevented that ban from being put in place." (Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North)
"I will be speaking to the Minister responsible and my parliamentary colleagues in an attempt to ensure that the government abandons any proposals for a self regulatory route, and enacts a ban as soon as possible, and listens to the will of the public." (Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge)
"Legislation to ban the use of wild animals in circuses has been implemented in other countries, so it is high time that a ban is implemented in the UK." (Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley)
"I absolutely deplore the use of wild animals in circuses and the use of them needs to be consigned to the history books." (Wendy Turner Webster, author, television presenter and ADI supporter.)
"I do not believe that it is appropriate for wild animals to be used to perform tricks in circuses and it is clear from the overwhelming public support for a ban on this practice during the consultation that most people share that view." (Diana Johnson, MP for Kingston Upon Hull North)
"I will be speaking to the Minister responsible and will urge him to implement a ban, which I am sure is what most people in this country want." (Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park)
"I hope that, in the spirit of the new politics, ministers will listen to the overwhelming voice of public opinion and ban the use of wild animals in circuses. (Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham)
"The only way we will see this welfare issue addressed is for the Government to implement a ban on the use of wild animals in this way. Self-regulation is not merely a poor substitute for a ban, but no substitute at all". (Naomi Long, MP for Belfast East)
"Keeping animals in circuses has been known to lead to poorer welfare due to the travelling and harsh training regimes. The barren trailers and temporary enclosures do not and cannot provide wild animals with their needs [...] Liberal Democrats are therefore committed to prohibiting the use of all animals in circuses except domestic dogs and horses." (General Election Response Team for Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister)
Almost 150 MPs have now signed Early Day Motion 403 'Wild Animals In Circuses', tabled by former Defra Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP, which states there is no obstacle to a ban on wild animals in circuses and a ban should be implemented.
National measures to prohibit or limit the use of animals in circuses have been adopted in Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Singapore, Bolivia, Costa Rica, India and Israel and similar laws are being discussed in Brazil, Chile, Peru and Greece.
All of these countries have looked at the evidence and listened to the will of the people and done the right thing by implementing bans. It is high time that the UK Government now did the same.