By Mark – It is a day of celebration for English AR groups today who have campaigned so hard for this very day for so long. When I was younger (yes there was a time !) – probably about 25 years or so ago; Joanne, myself, Trev, Matt, Patrick, and others all used to head off to demos in our County (Kent – England); to protest at the use of wild animals in circuses all those years ago. ‘Santus Circus’; https://www.santuscircus.com/about-us and https://www.santuscircus.com/ – a long time French circus; would come to England, and ‘our’ county (and very nearby London) all those years ago with their acts which included wild animals – Elephants, Tigers, Hippo; other wild cats, camels; etc. Note that in their site now (links above) there is no talk of wild animals having to be used for stupid tricks for an even thicker audience !
We had big bust ups with them regarding their use of wild animals in performances at the time; there were punch ups, a lot of teasing from both sides and basically, a great mutual hatred of each other. I can well remember we often took down their big fence banners and then when we re-visited to demo; would wave the banner holding chains complete with a scrap of the banner attached. They were never impressed; often going into orbit; but then nor were we having to witness the conditions in which travelling wild animals were being kept; and being abused to perform crappy tricks.
My best memory is of one of our group; Pat; taking his shoes off to show a clown that his shoes were Veggie shoes and were not made of leather – there was great shop in Brighton where you could go and buy – https://www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk/ . The clown was obviously questioning Pat about having (in the clown’s opinion) leather looking shoes. Pat by his actions made the bloke look like what he portrayed; a clown ! – no mate, they are veggie shoes; and I will show you the internal label to prove it !
Finally after all these years, the punch ups, the abuse and threats, but combined with massive support from our English public, the ban has finally come into place today – 19/1/20. Decades too late, but finally our efforts have been rewarded by official government legislation. We cannot not let this go without saying our thanks to Government Minister (Mike) Gove …
… who over the past few years has worked massively hard to get this legislation introduced and into law – so thanks Mike, Job Done – wild animals no longer performing stupid tricks under the threat of a beating and use of bullhooks; it is time for us today to look back and reflect on another great chunk of news in British animal rights; wild animals in circuses where they belong – in the history books !
Every second spent on this was worth it 100 times over !
The British government has banned the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in England.
The use of wild animals by travelling circuses will be banned from 2020, the Government has pledged, following a long-running campaign by animal welfare advocates to outlaw the practice.
Ministers have been promising to implement a ban for five years, but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed one will come into place by 19 January 2020.
“The current Regulations expire on 19 January 2020. The Government does not intend to renew the Regulations as it intends to ensure that a legislative ban is introduced by then. The Regulations will then be allowed to expire,” the report reads.
Activists have long accused circuses of beating, starving and keeping their animals in unsanitary conditions while they are made to perform for crowds.
We congratulate the UK Government on consigning this outdated act to the past where it belongs.”
Similar bans have recently been passed in Ireland and Scotland, and are under discussion in Wales.
Wild animal circus acts are opposed by both the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the British Veterinary Association, which stated: “The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus – in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour.”
Coming into effect in January 2020, the Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill comes after more than 20 years of investigations and campaigns by animal protection organisations.
Given the constant travel and their temporary nature, circuses cannot provide animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy. There have also been repeated exposés of physical abuse behind the scenes in circuses, after which the public turned its back on this cruel multi-million-pound industry.
Now, the law in the UK has finally caught up.