A better deal for animals – but circuses must wait

Dear Friends

Monday, 9th April 2007, will be remembered as a great day for many animals in the UK. The new Animal Welfare Act will come into force which radically modernises, as it relates to in particular, cats and dogs.

It largely replaces legislation that came into force in 1911 and so is not a moment too late! Importantly, it establishes the need to prevent suffering rather than prosecute for suffering once it has taken place. Thus, it will allow the RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations to take a more pre-emptive role in preventing abuse.

However, one of the areas that remains unresolved and that Born Free is particularly concerned about is the use of animals in circuses – and indeed, animals in entertainment. The circus debate has been rumbling on for years and our position is quite clear that, at the very least, all wild animals (species not normally domesticated in the UK) should be excluded from circuses. This would mean the end of the solitary elephant, the handful of lions and tigers, the zebras and the bear, which currently languish in British circuses. Not the end of their lives but the end of their circus lives. However, the government remains confused on this issue. The Minister, Mr Ben Bradshaw MP, seems determined to permit certain species of wild animal in circuses under license. It simply cannot be right, in my opinion, for wild animals to be used in this way – in and out of beast wagons, kept in restricted and temporary accommodation, made to perform in the ring and shunted around the country.

Together with the RSPCA, and in collaboration with Animal Defenders International and other respected animal protection organisations, Born Free has submitted evidence to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) supporting our case for the ending of this outdated form of so-called entertainment. We await the government’s decision – and so do the animals.

Blogging off


Read more about animals in circuses here

3 Responses to “A better deal for animals – but circuses must wait”

  1. Wendy Seddon Says:

    I totally agree – please keep up the pressure on these people to change this totally unacceptable use of wild animals. I support you all the way.

  2. Kate Cleland Says:

    I totally agree that wild animals should not be used for any entertainment purposes. People appear shocked when an elephant playing elephant football freaks out and attacks humans – this is a wild animal and should be treated with the utmost respect. The same goes for any other animals in circuses and other sports! Is there any way I can personally help to change laws on animals in entertainment.

    I am immensly proud of the work Born Free does, I’ve seen african animals in their natural habitat – animals are born to be wild and free and it’s fantastic that you work so hard to keep animals in the wild. I will continue to support your cause as long as I can.

    Kind regards,

    Kate Cleland, Galashiels

  3. Trish Cocking Says:

    Yes please do keep up the pressure a circus is not a place for a wild animal to be paraded
    They deserve to be and should be treated with respect

    Please keep up your good work and you can count on me and all my family to back you all the way