Remember in April I commented on press reports that the Conservative-led coalition government was set to ban wild animals from performing in circuses? I expressed reservation that this, indeed, would be the case.
Well, it turns out I was correct or, at least, will be proved to be correct, if the latest press report is to be believed.
The Independent reports
Downing Street has blocked plans by ministers to ban lions, tigers and other wild animals from performing in circuses, according to animal welfare groups. For 12 months ministers at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have repeatedly indicated their support for stopping wild animals performing tricks in the big top, but No 10, which wishes to reduce Government regulation, is understood to have vetoed the decision during the past fortnight. Ministers are expected to announce a system of self-regulation by circuses within days.
The last Labour government failed to deal with this issue seemingly because it was afraid it would further portray itself as presiding over the “nanny state.” Now, it appears, the ConDem’s anti-regulatory ideology is the dominant political culture.
All of this speaks to the need to embed the values of animal welfare within the political discourse, regardless of political ideology. In order for this to be accomplished it is vital the animal welfare/rights movement in the UK transform its narrative of the issue from one of personal lifestyle choice to be the responsibility of public policy and government.