Government support animal circus ban

London (GB) - March 2010 (by our representative in London)



94.5% of people want a ban on wild animal circus acts according to a consultation by the Department of Environment (DEFRA).

CAPS has welcomed the findings and called on the government to introduce a ban without delay.

The results come from a consultation which ended on 15 March, considering the future of wild animals in travelling circuses. There are currently around 40 wild animals in 4 UK circuses, including an elephant, tigers, camels and zebras.

Over 10,000 people responded to the consultation.

Animal Welfare Minister Jim Fitzpatrick, said:

“I agree with the clear view emerging from the huge response to the government’s consultation that keeping wild animals to perform in travelling circuses is no longer acceptable. So, I am minded to pursue a ban on the use of these animals in circuses.”

Craig Redmond, Campaigns Director for CAPS commented:

“CAPS welcomes DEFRA’s recognition that the use of wild animals in circuses should be banned. The ethical and welfare problems inherent in transporting animals around the country and making them perform are well known and we have campaigned since 1957 to end this cruelty.

“It is no surprise that 94% of respondents to the consultation support a ban. Opinion polls always show a majority oppose animal circuses and political support for prohibition is strong too.

“Of the options offered in the consultation a ban was the only one that would really protect animals. No-one believes circuses should be allowed to self-regulate.

“A Bristol University study last year found that circuses fail to provide some of the most basic welfare needs of wild animals, such as space and social groups. It is obvious to most people that carting an elderly arthritic elephant and caged tigers from town to town is an outdated form of entertainment.

“We need DEFRA to now act swiftly to ensure ban is introduced without delay to protect animals.

“A ban on using wild animals would be a major step forward for animal protection. However we must also ensure that the horses, dogs and other animals exploited in circuses are not forgotten and CAPS encourages circuses to end all animal use.”

Professor Bill Reilly, president of the British Veterinary Association said: "Although it only affects a small number of animals at present, the BVA felt that their needs and the needs of future animals could not be adequately met by the environmental conditions of a travelling circus."

Key figures from the survey:

  • 94.5% believed a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses was the best option to achieve consistently better welfare standards for these animals.

  • 95.5% believed that there are no species of wild animal which it is acceptable to use in travelling circuses.

  • 96% believed travelling circuses should be prevented from obtaining any further wild animals.