Use of Wild Animals in Circuses

Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, Robert Flello, is promoting a Private Members Bill, Use of Wild Animals in Circuses, in the House of Commons in the British Parliament. The chances of this bill becoming law are not good. Generally, Private Members Bill do not become law unless they have the Government’s support.

The Conservative-led British Government opposes a ban on wild animals in circuses. It prefers and is preparing to introduce a licensing scheme to regulate wild animals in circuses. The licensing scheme will be the responsible of local authorities in England, which is the only part of the country in the UK this issue has jurisdiction over. Of course, the ConDem Coalition Government is taking many steps to make the ability of local authorities to fulfil their legal responsibilities very difficult, including cutting their funding. So, it is unlikely that local authorities will give the issue much of a priority. I read in reports that there are 39 wild animals in 3-4 circuses in operation in the UK at present. It is difficult to understand why a ban cannot be implemented with such a small number of animals involved.

The Bill was discussed this morning. Please find the time to watch the debate.

It is a fascinating insight into how animal welfare is discussed in British Parliamentary discourse. All the indications show that the British public overwhelmingly want to see a ban; however, the British Government won’t comply with public opinion. Sadly, the previous Labour Government could have done more on this issue. Nevertheless, the present Government is also failing to act and needs to be hold to account.

After listening to the debate, it seems to me that the reasons why the Government won’t ban wild animals in circuses lack any substance. So, given the public’s wish for a ban, why won’t the Government implement a ban?