Self Regulation for UK Circuses:
Are They Serious?

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Self Regulation for UK Circuses:
Are They Serious?

From Animal Defenders International (ADI)
November 2010

Self regulation cannot work in an industry where random acts of violence and cruelty are commonplace and there is no discipline, structure, and no way to enforce regulations. If the Minister believes that the industry can be trusted to self regulate, then he is delusional and very much mistaken.

Our call to action kicks off with the release of our new video entitled Self Regulation for UK circuses: Are They Serious?’ which graphically depicts the random, sanctimonious abuse of wild animals in several UK circuses over the last fifteen years with the most recent footage from the Great British Circus in 2009.

The release of this footage effectively eliminates any attempt by UK Government to ignore the will of the public and politicians, by further considering self regulation for UK circuses as an option, and no wild animal ban.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International said: “We have recently learnt that even now, after five years, 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.

“Does Lord Henley, the Defra Minister responsible, really believe that the circus industry will adhere to self regulation and suddenly stop the mistreatment and abuse of animals in their care as clearly evidenced in our video, because government asks them to?

“Self regulation cannot work in an industry where random acts of violence and cruelty are commonplace and there is no discipline, structure, and no way to enforce regulations. If the Minister believes that the industry can be trusted to self regulate, then he is delusional and very much mistaken.

“If government needs an overwhelming case to abandon consideration of self regulation and immediately enact a ban on the use of wild animals in UK circuses then this video contains all they require. All of the damning footage was obtained from UK circuses and we can conclusively prove this if challenged to do so by the circus industry.”

An Exasperating U-Turn

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 remains exasperated that the results of this consultation still remain unpublished as they were due to be released into the public domain in June 2010. Despite repeated requests being made to Defra for the release of this information that will clearly condemn the use of wild animals in circuses, it remains inexplicably within Defra’s grasp, with no clear explanation as to why.

On a more positive note, 143 MPs have now signed Early Day Motion (EDM) 403, tabled by the former Defra Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP, calling for the wild animal ban to finally be implemented, showing that there is a political will to enact the ban.

ADI is in the process of writing to all politicians, including those who haven’t yet signed the EDM urging them to do so, and is requesting that concerned members of the public appalled by the Government’s inaction and lethargy contact their MPs in their constituency offices to request they become involved to bring further pressure to bear, and to sign EDM 403 if they haven’t already done so.