We have been trying to end the keeping and use of wild animals in circuses for nearly 20 years. It all got very close just before the Parliamentary Election when both the Labour Party and the Lib Dems declared their support for a ban.
In July, I met with the new Coalition Minister responsible for these issues, Lord Henley and, together with others, presented him with overwhelming evidence that a ban was both effective, appropriate and legal.
Lord Henley said he needed the summer recess to consider the issue but would decide in the autumn.
On 9th September his fellow Minister, James Paice, in answer to a Parliamentary question from Katy Clarke (who was concerned at the delay in the Government’s response, and who pointed out that reporting in the autumn “really means Christmas”) said “I am not sure that the Honourable Lady is right to refer to Christmas.”
We waited. The animals waited. Then, on 16th November, news!
In answer to another question, this time from the UK’s first Green MP, Caroline Lucas, as to when the Government would make an announcement about wild animals in circuses, Mr Paice again stepped up, “An announcement will be made early in the New Year.”
So, sadly Katy Clarke was wrong. It was not even going to be Christmas. It is going to be in the New Year …… Early in the New Year …… My money is on Easter! Disgraceful. And the animals are still waiting!
p.s. For more information on wild animals in circuses, click here