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Breaking: Scotland publish Bill to ban wild animal circuses

The Captive Animals’ Protection Society, along with campaign partners, have welcomed publication of the Scottish Government Bill to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland, along with proposals to review performing animal regulations.

The Bill covers all non-domesticated animals travelling and performing in circuses, and any form of display or exhibition in static premises such as winter quarters.

A Scottish Government consultation in 2014 produced an overwhelming response in favour of banning wild animal circuses in Scotland.  Out of 2,043 responses, 98% thought the use of wild animals for performance in travelling circuses should be banned; and 96.4% thought the use of wild animals for exhibition (without performing) in travelling circuses should be banned. Both aspects are covered in the Bill.

The most recent Scottish poll, carried out for the More for Scotland’s Animals coalition in March 2016, found that 75% of those polled supported an end to the use of wild animals in circuses, rising to 78% in the 18-24 age group.

The ban will be made on ethical grounds reflecting respect for animals and their natural behaviours.  The same approach was taken when the Scottish Parliament banned fur farming in 2002.

 

Nicola O’Brien, Campaigns Director with the Captive Animals’ Protection Society commented:

“With 98% of consultation respondents stating wild animals in circuses should be banned, we applaud the Scottish Government for listening to the public by making this historic decision. Scotland has not only taken action to protect animals within its borders but also paved the way for the rest of the UK to follow. A joined-up approach across the union is needed to ensure wild animals are truly free from exploitation in circuses.”

The Scottish Government seeks to achieve early passage of the Bill in order to establish that wild animal circuses are not welcome or permitted in Scotland.  Until the legislation is in place there is a risk travelling circuses could bring wild animals to Scotland.

The call to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland gained overwhelming public support following an outcry as Thomas Chipperfield brought two lions and three tigers to overwinter at a farm near Fraserburgh in 2014.

Animal Defenders International, Born Free Foundation, Captive Animals’ Protection Society and OneKind are urging Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to support the Bill when it comes before them.  A ban on wild animal circuses featured in the manifestos of the SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Green parties for the 2016 election and the issue is widely regarded as unfinished business.

Once passed, the legislation will be the first outright ban on wild animal circuses anywhere in the UK, joining 18 European countries, and 35 around the world, with restrictions in place – and more in the pipeline.

The animal protection groups have concerns about other forms of entertainment using animals, such as reindeer displays, bird of prey exhibitions in shopping centres, and mobile zoos and animal handling parties. The organisations have welcomed a commitment from the Scottish Government today to address these activities and are calling for this review to progress in parallel with the circus bill.

Take Action!

  • Contact your local MSP and ask them to support the Bill, using the points below – https://www.writetothem.com/
    • 98% of respondents to a Scottish consultation said they thought wild animals in circuses should be banned
    • 18 European countries and 35 around the world have bans or restrictions on animals in circuses
    • Scotland can lead the way on banning animal circuses in the UK
  • Ahead of the General Election, contact your local MPs for all political parties and ask them to include a ban in their manifesto! https://www.writetothem.com/

Article taken from: https://www.captiveanimals.org/news/2017/05/

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RSPCA slams circus rebranded as an ‘educational evening’

The RSPCA is calling for swift enactment of a ban after a travelling show using wild animals relabelled itself as an educational performance.

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The Society has long been campaigning for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and, if introduced, a draft Bill would make it an offence for any circus operator to use a wild animal in performance or exhibition in a travelling circus in England.

Now that one show has rebranded their performance as an educational event, RSPCA officials are calling for the ban to be enacted as quickly as possible to prevent big cats being hauled around the country in the name of entertainment.

RSPCA senior scientific officer Dr Ros Clubb said: “We are deeply concerned about the welfare of lions and tigers involved in this, or any other, travelling training display or show.

“We believe that many animal lovers could be duped into attending the show as they may be under the impression that this show helps the animals in some way when this is actually just a circus by another name. We strongly urge people to vote with their feet, and give this tour a miss.

“The impact of these travelling shows on animal welfare is serious and potentially debilitating for each and every animal involved. Animals are forced to endure the constant travel, cramped temporary cages and noisy conditions in that kind of environment.

“This show is the perfect example of why the ban on wild animals in circuses needs to be introduced quickly and the draft legislation also needs to clearly outline what a circus is.

“This show may be masquerading as an educational event but the simple fact is that it is still a circus and the way these animals are being kept will be exactly the same.

“There is nothing educational about seeing these animals in this kind of environment and there is no justification for keeping wild animals in this way.

“Shows like this will never be able to keep wild animals in a way that provides acceptable standards of welfare and placing an animal in surroundings unsuitable for the species can cause serious stress and behavioural problems.

“The circus is not the greatest show on earth, it is the saddest show on earth for the wild animals used and it is a practice that needs to be abolished.”

The RSPCA is urging people in England to contact their MP to help bring about a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses to help these long forgotten animals.

Article taken from: http://media.rspca.org.uk/media/pressreleases/details/-/articleName/PressRSPCASlamsCircusRebrandedAsAnEducationalEvening7Jul15

http://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/bigstop/takeaction

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Scotland says “No” to wild animal circuses

Scottish Government papers released today have confirmed that an overwhelming 98% of respondents to a public consultation on the issue supported a complete ban on the continued use of animals such as lions, tigers and elephants in travelling circuses.

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A total of 2,003 respondents (98%) to the consultation indicated that they thought the use of wild animals for performance in travelling circuses should be banned in Scotland; and 1,969 respondents (96.4%) indicated that they thought the use of wild animals for exhibition (without performing) in travelling circuses should be banned in Scotland.

OneKind and the Born Free Foundation have campaigned together for reform in Scotland and are standing by to support the Scottish Government in delivering a solution to this important animal welfare issue. Whilst there have been no wild animal circuses based in Scotland in living memory, circuses with wild animals have toured to Scotland in recent years. But in late 2014 Thomas Chipperfield, a big cat circus trainer, moved his animals from England to a farm near Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.

The move triggered an outcry from members of the public, animal welfare experts and parliamentarians alike and led to demands being made upon the Scottish Government to implement a ban as soon as possible. In 2012, the Westminster Government released a draft bill to ban the use of wild animals in circuses on ethical grounds; inviting Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to join together in creating UK-wide legislation. Since that time, no progress has been made on the implementation of the ban in England, to the disappointment of advocates working on the issue.

The inaction in Westminster signals an opportunity for Scotland to lead the way on this important issue by acting independently. Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart welcomed the results of the consultation: “The public have overwhelmingly shown that they are against the archaic practice of having wild animals perform in circuses and I hope that the Scottish Government takes cognisance of their views and will legislate for a ban as soon as possible. “We cannot afford for the rest of the UK to catch-up and if our Scottish Government does not introduce legislation in the near future then I will certainly consider introducing a Members’ Bill to ban this barbaric practice once and for all.”

Will Travers, President of the Born Free Foundation said: “Today’s message from the Scottish public could not be clearer: people don’t want to see wild animals in circuses in this country any longer. The Scottish Government now has a real chance to demonstrate that it is a progressive force for animal welfare. With inaction in Westminster meaning that the potential UK-wide ban is currently on hold, Scotland is in a great position to lead the way and implement the first wild animal circus ban in the British Isles”. Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire-based Modo, a youth circus that celebrates human achievement and creativity, has expressed concern about the negative perceptions of circuses fostered by the continued use of wild animals. Director Martin Danziger said:

“Important as it is to stop wild animal use for moral reasons, its very existence also makes our work harder – we have to work harder to communicate the difference between two things that call themselves circuses, and to work to counter negative perceptions.” OneKind has always warned that not banning these entertainments would simply leave the door open for them to set up here at any time. That is what happened with the big cats overwintering in Aberdeenshire and their owner attempting to use them in public shows. A simple ban would reflect modern attitudes to animals and the overwhelming will of the Scottish public.

The full analysis can be seen at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/06/2818

Article taken from: http://www.onekind.org/take_action/blog_article/scotland_says_no_to_wild_animal_circuses

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Law to ban wild animals in UK circuses being blocked by three Tory MPs

A new law to ban the use of wild animals in circuses is being repeatedly blocked by a trio of Tory backbenchers, despite the personal support of David Cameron, the government, Labour and over 90% of the British public.

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The bill was blocked for the seventh time on Friday afternoon, a move its supporters called a “travesty” and an “outrage”. Dozens of lions, tigers, zebras and camels are still used in travelling circuses and in 2012 the government pledged to outlaw what Cameron called the “outdated practice”. But despite publishing the draft law in 2013, it has since failed to pass it.

Former environment minister Jim Fitzpatrick, a Labour MP, took the government’s bill and presented it as a private members bill, with support from MPs from all main parties. But it has been repeatedly blocked by circus-supporter Andrew Rosindell, along with Christopher Chope and Philip Davies, all Conservative MPs.

“It is very much a matter of a tiny number of Tory backwoodsmen preventing this from happening,” Fitzpatrick told the Guardian. “It is frustrating, but we are keeping the issue alive – it won’t go away.”

“The days of transporting wild animals in the back of lorries around towns and cities to show them off to people are long gone,” he said, noting that many nations, from Bosnia to Bolivia, already have bans and that safari parks and zoos provided alternatives. “We think Britain should join the 21st century.”

“It is a travesty that the actions of just three MPs are preventing legislation to end animal suffering from being passed,” said Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International. In April, Cameron told ADI: “Yes, we are going to do it.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the government bill would be passed “when parliamentary time allows”. However, the current parliamentary programme has the smallest number of bills for 20 years. Fitzpatrick said there clearly was time and he had “no idea” why ministers will not fulfil their pledge.

The British Veterinary Association backs the ban, stating: “The welfare needs of wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus, in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour.” The RSPCA said: “Cramped and bare temporary housing, forced training and performance, loud noises and crowds of people are often unavoidable realities for the animals.”

But Rosindell, who has blocked the bill twice said: “The circus is a Great British institution, which has proved that it has the high standards of welfare which are rightly expected of it, and I strongly believe that it deserves to be defended against the propaganda and exaggerations.”

He added: “None have been taken from their natural habitat; all are from several generations of animals born in captivity. I believe it would be much more cruel to remove them from the life they have always known in living and performing with their loving owners in the environment they are accustomed to.”

Neither Chope, who has blocked the law four times, or Davies responded to requests for comment. Chope said in the Commons that the government should present the bill, not a backbencher. Davies, who blocked the bill in October, said he wanted to clear the way for a backbench bill on an EU referendum, which has since been killed off.

Creamer said: “By blocking the bill they are defying not only the wishes of their own party and their constituents, but also the British public and Parliament. There is also clearly time to pass a ban and the government needs to act now.” A 2010 government consultation found 94% of the British public supported a ban on wild animal acts.

Maria Eagle, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, said: “The British public will be outraged that, when given the opportunity, a determined group of Tories have repeatedly dug their heels in. The next Labour government will ban wild animals in circuses.”

Fitzpatrick said: “I think a ban on wild animals will come in sooner rather than later, but I have severe reservations about whether we get it in before the election next May.”

Article taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/05/law-to-ban-wild-animals-in-uk-circuses-being-blocked-by-three-tory-mps

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