Thursday 23rd June 2011 has been a monumental day fo circus animals in England and the rest of the Uk. Despite overwhelming attempts by a government led by David Cameron (Prime Minister) to block the legislation calling for a ban, which included putting personal pressure on MPs involved in the issue, a vote in the House of Commons on the afternoon of 23/06/11 has now started the official wheels turning to enforce a ban on the use of all wild animals in circuses.
SAV wishes to especially congratulate Mark Pritchard MP for having the resolve to continue with his fight to introduce this legislation, despite major threats and opposition from David Cameron; who all of us in the Uk animal welfare lobby know is NO real friend of the animals or of legislation aimed at improving animal welfare.
Yesterday was a major defeat for those who wished to take no real, positive action in defence of animal welfare. 95% of the British public wanted a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. The government led by David Cameron even established an on line consultation to ask the public what they felt. When the British public overwhelmingly showed they wanted a ban; the government ignored the wishes of the public and instead attempted to use EU and human rights laws as a feeble attempt to refuse the introduction of a ban.
The brilliant campaign group ‘Animal Defenders’ http://www.ad-international.org/about_us/ instructed Bircham Dyson Bell, leading Solicitors and Parliamentary Agents, to research the conformity of a ban on wild animals in circuses with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Union Services Directive.
All the findings of the research showed one thing –
“there are No obstacles left in the way for Government to implement outright ban”.
The parliamentary vote on 23/06/11 dealt a massive blow; another blow to the current government; a government now known as the “U turn government” because of the amount of reversing and back tracking and changes it is doing with regard its fledgling policies.
The use of wild animals in circuses is yet another issue where the government has been blown apart.
Thursday 23rd June 2011 was a great day for Uk circus animals. It is the start of the end for beautiful animals performing cheap and degrading tricks for an uneducated audience.
The following links provide more information on this historic event.
Watch the great speech by Mark Pritchard MP in the (London) House of Commons debate on 23/06/11 via the following BBC link:
Congratulations Mark !!
Latest (24/06/11) from Animal Defenders:
Anne the elephant beaten at Bobby Roberts Circus:
Anne the elephant safe at last
Anne the elephant has made a safe journey to Longleat Safari Park this morning after being handed over by Bobby Roberts Super Circus.
No. 10 climbdown on circus ban calls
12:30am Friday 24th June 2011
Downing Street has signalled it will bow to pressure over MPs’ demands for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.
But there are still “unavoidable legal difficulties” that must be overcome before the practice can be outlawed, officials have insisted.
Ministers have steadfastly opposed the move fearing the Government will be left open to lawsuits from circus owners and workers. MPs agreed, however, to direct the coalition to introduce a ban from July next year after a debate in the Commons.
Although the decision is not binding, it is highly embarrassing for the Government and has heaped pressure on ministers to act. A Downing Street source said: “The Government will recognise the will of the House.”
Tory Mark Pritchard, who led the backbench call for a ban, claimed he had been threatened by the Prime Minister’s office unless he backed down.
In an open show of defiance, Wrekin MP Mr Pritchard told MPs he was first offered “incentive and reward” if he complied with the wishes of the party hierarchy but as he stood firm pressure was “ratcheted up” on him.
He said: “I had a call from the Prime Minister’s office directly and I was told that, unless I withdraw this motion, the Prime Minister himself said he would look upon it very dimly indeed.”
Mr Pritchard said: “I will not be bullied by any other whips. This is an issue I have campaigned on for many years.”
There are currently three travelling circuses in the UK, with a total of 39 wild animals, including zebras, lions, tigers and camels. Agriculture minister Jim Paice said Government lawyers advised that it was “highly likely” ministers would be challenged on the basis that an outright ban was “disproportionate in terms of improving welfare in circuses”.
A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokeswoman said: “The Government will listen to the view of the House and is sympathetic to the motion for a ban. We will continue to look carefully at how this could be introduced, but there are unavoidable legal difficulties that we cannot ignore.”
27,000 sign wild animal circus ban petition
By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Friday, 17 June 2011
Almost 27,000 have signed The Independent’s online petition calling for the Government to ban wild animals in circuses, pushing it within a few thousand of its target.
The Independent is hoping that 30,000 people will put their name to the petition by Thursday when MPs vote on whether to direct the Coalition to introduce a ban.
Animal welfare groups are concerned that some MPs who have signed Commons motions backing a ban will not turn up because the three-hour backbench debate takes place on a Thursday afternoon when many would normally return to their constituencies.
In the run up to the vote, the RSPCA and other organisations are encouraging supporters to contact their MP urging them to vote.
Meanwhile The Independent is making a final appeal for people to sign its petition.
Signing it, Jenny Parker, of Sherborne, Dortset, wrote: “I find it hard to believe that in the so-called enlightened 21st century that we still have to petition the Government to ban such cruel and unnatural acts as performing animals in circuses.” Annik Piriou, from Oxford, remarked: “I would prefer to see animals in their natural environment, even if it is only on TV.”
The Captive Animals Protection Society, which is backing The Independent’s campaign, appealed for the public’s help.
Its director Liz Tyson said: “The numbers showing their support for a ban is growing daily – demonstrated by the almost 27,000 people that have signed the Independent petition. Interestingly, a petition set up just six days after this one, showing the level of support for keeping animals in circuses currently boasts only 594 signatures.”
She added: “We know that there are almost 200 MPs that have formally pledged their support for a ban by signing the EDM and many more who have told us they are behind us on this one but without this support being translated into votes, the animals will continue to suffer. We implore MP’s to attend the debate and make their opinion heard next Thursday.”
Ricky Gervais: “I am appalled“
Multi award winning writer and comedian Ricky Gervais said: “Animal Defenders International’s recent footage of Anne the elephant being beaten graphically displays why the government should ban wild animals in circuses. I am appalled that wild animals are still kept in circuses and fully support the call for a ban. It is high time that Government got on and implemented one.”
Celebrity Designer Meg Mathews said: “As an advocate of animal welfare, the footage released by ADI of poor Annie the elephant being so cruelly treated made me sick to my stomach. It’s time for this government to stop dragging its heels and finally take action to end the suffering that animals like Anne endure every day in UK circuses.”
Brian May, legendary guitarist, song writer and founding member of Queen said: “The use of wild animals in circuses is cruel, distasteful and unacceptable in the 21st century. Our present government is currently backing away from ending this abhorrent practice. We at ‘Save-Me’ call on David Cameron personally to act now, and take a step towards making Britain worthy of its desired status as a nation of animal-lovers. While wild animals still exist in circuses, we remain very far away from that title.”
Star of Miss Marple and theatre director Julia McKenzie said: “The Government needs to listen to the will of the Great British public and implement a wild animal circuses ban without further delay. Their decision is flawed and needs rapid review. I urge the Minister to reconsider.”
Actor, historian and writer John Nettles said: “I am absolutely amazed that wild animals in circuses still exist in the UK. I was appalled when ADI informed me of Government’s recent decision and I would urge all animal lovers to get behind their campaign in the interests of animal protection and welfare.”
Radio personality, DJ, presenter and broadcaster Mark Radcliffe said: “I am amazed that wild animal circuses still exist in the UK, and like the vast majority of the public and politicians I want to see a ban on their use once and for all – and I want this to happen now. Successive governments have been mulling this issue over now for far too long, and it is high time that the Coalition Government acted decisively to bring an end to this animal suffering – once and for all. They have been provided with all the evidence and information that they need and it is time to now listen to the will of the UK public.”
Comedian, actor and author Alexei Sayle said: “There are many grey areas in matters of morality – using wild animals in circuses is not one of these grey areas. It is simply and obviously wrong and indefensible. The sooner this blot on a civilised country is eradicated the better it will be for all of us – animals and humans.”
And the poet, novelist and playwright Benjamin Zephaniah said: “There are so many ways that intelligent human beings can have fun, and exploiting animals should not be one of them. Beautiful animals are not for our entertainment, in fact it’s our duty to respect and protect them. I am a real animal lover and I would never go to a circus that had wild animals, so I’m appealing to the Government to heed ADI’s advice. The Great British public have made it clear, they demand better, so the Government should do the right thing for animal welfare by implementing a ban.”
Mark Pritchard MP, Jim Fitzpatrick MP and Bob Russell MP have secured a three hour backbench cross party debate to discuss the issue in the Chamber on Thursday 23 June commencing at 3pm and running to 6pm.
Immediately afterwards a vote is expected to be taken urging that the Coalition Government uses its powers to introduce a regulation banning the use of all wild animals in circuses.
A copy of the joint letter to the Prime Minister can be viewed here.
**Recent History: Animal Defenders Show that there would be NO breaches of Acts, despite what the government says.
ADI’s legal advice: circus ban would not breach Human Rights Act or European Services Directive
Posted: 2 June 2011. Updated: 2 June 2011
No obstacles left in way for Government to implement outright ban.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) has received expert legal advice stating that an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses would not breach the Human Rights Act or the EU Services Directive, once again paving the way for the Coalition Government to implement a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses without further delay.
ADI’s latest announcement follows their statement last week that Defra officials had indicated in 2009 that it was possible to introduce a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses under the auspices of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The week previously ADI had exposed the Government as being incorrect by uncovering that there was no Austrian legal challenge in the courts, cited by the Government as a primary reason not to ban.
Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said: “We have proved conclusively that there is no Austrian legal challenge, no need for new legislation and that a ban would not breach the Human Rights Act nor the EU Services Directive.
“Once again, ministers have been found wanting and we have proved the Coalition Government to be incorrect, legally and factually. Every obstacle they have put in the way to prevent an outright ban has now been knocked down. The government needs to stop looking for excuses and bring in a ban. 95% of the public wants a ban, parliament wants a ban, it is therefore in the public interest to bring in a ban.”
Knocked out: Human Rights Act
Last week, lawyers instructed by ADI analysed if a ban could potentially affect a person’s right to respect for private and family life under the UK’s Human Rights Act (HRA) (article 8) and the protection for property (article 1 of protocol 1 HRA). The advice concluded that a ban would be within the ‘margin of appreciation’ afforded to the UK.
Furthermore, the legal advice is that if a ban is proposed because it is considered ethically wrong in itself to use wild animals in circuses, a ban would be the only measure which would achieve this public interest aim and would be automatically proportionate. Therefore, the ban would not be in breach of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights
Knocked out: EU Services Directive
In addition, it was concluded that the UK would not be in contravention of the EU Services Directive by implementing national legislation which banned the use of wild animals in circuses and it would not be unlawful under EU law generally.
The European Court of Justice would accord a Member State a wide degree of discretion in this matter and since 2002 the European Commission has reiterated that the decision would be at the discretion of the individual Member State, and they would not wish to become involved.
Tim Phillips, ADI’s Campaigns Director said: “ADI’s recent exposé at the winter quarters of Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus, which showed the appalling abuse of Anne the elephant and Monty the camel and led to a worldwide public outcry, has provided the Government with the perfect opportunity to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
“However, the Coalition Government seems to be going to great lengths to place obstacles in the way and create smoke screens. What is becoming clear to us is their decision not to ban and subsequent actions continues to undermine their position, which is becoming increasingly untenable and the pressure is not subsiding. The Government ignores the will of the UK public at its peril, and may soon discover this to their detriment.”
Earlier this week ADI and other animal protection groups including Animal Aid, BVA, PETA, WSPA and RSPCA sent a joint open letter to the Prime Minister, requesting that he rethinks his Government’s current position.
ADI is in the process of drafting a series of legal briefings for politicians to keep the pressure up on the Government to do the right thing morally and ethically – wild animals do not belong in travelling circuses.
ADI instructed Bircham Dyson Bell, leading Solicitors and Parliamentary Agents, to research the conformity of a ban on wild animals in circuses with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Union Services Directive.
SAY THANKS TO MP’s WHO VOTED FOR THE BAN:
Please have a look at this:
This week MPs voted to ban the cruel use of wild animals by circuses. The ban isn’t law yet, but it could be if MPs keep pushing the government to end this cruel and outdated practice.
I’ve just added my name to a letter to MPs thanking them for what they’ve done so far and urging them to keep pushing for a circus ban.
I thought you might want to sign the letter too.
Click here to find out more and sign the letter now: