British Government’s report card – good and bad

In response to a question from Mike Hancock, MP, the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has admitted to plans to spend £261,000 on developing the unwanted wild animal circus licensing scheme for the UK, despite calls for a ban from 95% of the public – and approaching 63% of Members of Parliament.

It almost defies belief that in this grim economic climate, the Government is prepared to spend so much money on their unpopular policy. This issue is an ethical and political matter – a ban can be passed on a vote of Parliament. Yet the savage beatings and extreme environmental and social deprivation suffered by these animals is ignored while Defra dithers about – probably hoping that we will all go away.

Meanwhile the UK Home Office gets a slightly better report, having confirmed that the British ban on the use of stray cats and dogs for experiments will remain in place when the new law is introduced next yet.  However, exceptions will be made where it is claimed that the use of feral domestic species might be essential for “essential studies relating to either the health or welfare of the animals or a serious threat to the environment or to human or animal health and where the purpose can only be achieved by using feral animals”. Something to watch very closely and insist that there is full public consultations whenever use of ferals is proposed.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles our battle continues to persuade the City Council to ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses – Ringlings is attempting to use economic muscle to push the City around, but we hope that the City’s residents will not stand for this kind of interference.

The Bogota office are still pressing authorities in Argentina and Paraguay to move on the seizure of the circus lions and tigers that were stopped at the border and don’t appear to have correct paperwork. There’s a surprise.  The cats are currently being cared for in the local zoo. Let’s hope officials in these two countries will stand up for what is right and protect these vulnerable cats.

Don’t forget to join us for Lion Ark Night on October 13 in the Hollywood Hills! Meet Bob Barker, Jorja Fox, Tonya Kaye and other celebrity supporters to help us save animals.  Private preview of Lion Ark, the movie – the story of the Bolivian circus ban and how we emptied the country of circus animals.  See http://www.adievents.com/

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Great British Circus sees the writing on the wall

Finally, Great British Circus owner Martin Lacey has seen the writing on the wall – people don’t want to see archaic shows where miserable animals plod around being beaten, poked and prodded.

Rather than turn his show into one of the successful human-only shows, Lacey announces the sale of his animals in Horse & Hound magazine, saying that he is to retire.

No retirement for his poor tigers though, which one of his workers told an ADI investigator are to be sold to another circus, maybe in Italy.

We have exposed GBC several times now, most recently in 2009, when three elephants from Germany were beaten mercilessly by their handler and trainer; water was put out of reach behind an electric tape fence; a claimed “six” welfare inspections by local authorities, police and RSPCA, did not discover the abuse. But the UK Government still claims that inspections can protect these animals.

Good news to hear that circus impresario Gerry Cottle – who moved to human-only circus shows some years ago – has recently announced his belief that the presence of animals gives circuses a bad name. Quite right.

However, will the UK Government see the light? The public and parliamentary support for an end to the use of wild animals in travelling circuses has never been higher. Will they bow to the nation’s wishes, and bring in a ban before the next election? Now is the time!

Meanwhile – the ADI Peru team has been in meetings with government officials on implementation of the ban there.