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England's Prime Minister Says He Will Ban Wild Animals from Circuses

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England’s Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he will work quickly to bring forward the Government’s draft bill that will ban wild animals from circuses. The bill was originally published last March, but little progress has been made since then.

The British animal rights organization, Animal Defender’s International (ADI),  is concerned that if the ban is not immediately enforced, the implementation date of December 2015 may be missed. Social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell, and former Conservative MEP, author, and conservationist Stanley Johnson approached Prime Minister Cameron with this concern, and asked him to swiftly move on the bill. He responded to their request by saying “[y]es, we are going to do it.”

“It is great that David Cameron told Stanley and me today that he will ban wild animals in circuses. Let’s hold him to it. Circuses deny animals their freedom and suppress their natural, wild nature through confinement, tethering and subjugation. It is wrong for circuses to subject wild animals to such physical and mental suffering. That’s why I am supporting Animal Defenders International’s campaign calling on the Government to urgently legislate a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses,” said Thatchell.

“I am very much hoping that this legislation to ban wild animals in circuses will appear in the Queen’s speech and no further delay will be experienced. Circuses that persist in using wild animals undermine conservation efforts by demeaning animals and presenting them as playthings. These animals belong in their natural wild habitat, not the circus,” said Johnson. “I applaud Animal Defenders International on its work to stop circus suffering and urge the Government to join the growing number of countries that have banned wild animal acts,” he added.

The elephant-shaped letter requesting Prime Minister Cameron to quickly move the bill forward, has been signed by celebrities that include Eddie Izzard, Julian Clary, Moby, Michaela Strachan, and Brian Blessed. Also, among the signatories, is Eton, whom is a famous alumni of Prime Minister Cameron’s old school, as well as actor Dominic West and sustainable investment leader Ben Goldsmith.

“We are delighted that David Cameron has promised the ADI deputation that he will bring forward the ban on wild animals. So many celebrities and politicians have joined ADI to call on the Government to implement its promised ban on wild animals in circuses. After a 20 year wait the public wants to see this done and if the Government fails to deliver on this promise, it will be directly responsible for continued animal suffering,” said ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer.

At the moment, more than two hundred local authorities in the UK, and twenty-five countries worldwide have restricted using animals in circuses. A 2010 Defra consultation showed that 94 percent of Britain’s population opposed the use of animals in circuses, and in 2011 sixty-three MPs also agreed that the Government should ban wild animal circus acts.

Hopefully, Britain will soon be the twenty-seventh country to rescue wild circus animals from a life of captivity, abuse and exploitation.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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