Luke Pollard MP Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
- Wild animals in travelling circuses to be banned a decade after Labour’s initial plans for a ban
- There’s a risk that new animals will be introduced to circuses before it comes into force
- Labour is calling for an end to new licenses to prevent a last hurrah this summer
Today Parliament will vote on banning the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. There are only 19 wild animals currently licensed for use in two travelling circuses, however people in the UK have made it clear that they are against seeing any performing in circuses. 96% of the public backs this ban and many think that there is already a ban in place.
Yet there is still a risk that more wild animals could tour with travelling circuses this season, even if after this Bill gains Royal Assent. That’s why Labour has tabled an amendment to the Bill that would stop new licenses being issued.
As recently as 2015, lions and tigers toured England and Wales under the current licensing arrangements. Without Labour’s amendment, there would be no mechanism stopping travelling circuses or lion tamers, from bringing their lions, tigers or any wild animals to England this summer which would fly in the face of the public will.
Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Pollard said:
“A travelling circus is no place for a wild animal. They are carted from one venue to another, sometimes in cramped cages and barren trailers, and are taught to perform tricks, often through fear of punishment. There is unequivocal scientific evidence which shows that wild animals are not suited to the travelling life where they are denied even their most basic needs.
“We are living through a political crisis but that does not mean that we shouldn’t stand up for animal welfare. Circuses operate in a commercial environment so there will always be that last PR sell: “Your last chance to see a tiger in England this summer”. And if there is a risk of an elephant, a big cat or even an extra zebu or raccoon being brought into our circuses, the public would want the Government to be able to stop that from happening.
“That’s why Labour has tabled an amendment to the Government’s bill that would prevent any new licenses being issued for the upcoming touring season.”