13/11/2010 & 26/11/2011


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Website:  http://www.caft.org.uk/index.html




Uk: (Ministry) Defra Called to Come Clean on Plans for Wild Animals in Circuses. Charities may turn to the High Court for Answers.

Captive Animals Protection Society, PO Box 591, Manchester, M12 0DP, England UK


SAV Comment:  Excellent news, and in keeping with the overwhelming wishes of the British public.  For too long now, Defra have ignored the people and tried every excuse in the book.  We wish CAPS and BFF every success in taking this forward and getting a ban in British circuses.

Source: Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS):


Below – SAV Previous Post Links on this subject:





Defra Called to Come Clean on Plans for Wild Animals in Circuses.

Charities may turn to the High Court for Answers.

Today, The Born Free Foundation and the Captive Animals’ Protection Society called upon the Government to make their position clear on wild animals in circuses as the two organisations stated their intention to look to the High Court to clarify the nature of the “legal obstacles” that Defra officials and Ministers claim are standing in the way of a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

In a letter sent to the Secretary of State on the 23rd December, the two organisations, who have been campaigning for a ban on the practise for a number of years, expressed their frustration at the Government’s failure to make its decision clear on the issue. The letter highlighted the result of the previous government’s 2010 public consultation process, which saw an incredible 94.5% of respondents calling for a ban, and the unanimous motion passed by MPs in the House of Commons in June of this year “directing” the Government to implement the same.

In spite of this, the Government has apparently opted for a regime to license the use of wild animals in circuses; a process which leading animal welfare organisations say will be unworkable. Numerous statements from Defra officials have cited potential (but vague) legal obstacles to a ban, referring to an ongoing court case challenging an Austrian ban, as an example of what could happen here. However, last week the Austrian case was dismissed by the Constitutional Court in Vienna, apparently clearing the way for action in Westminster.

The charities have appealed to the Government to make its position clear and clarify whether or not the perceived legal obstacles are still cause for concern. If unspecified legal difficulties remain, the two groups will consider going to the High Court to try to overcome the current stalemate using the Judicial Review process as part of “friendly proceedings” in which the Secretary of State would be the named respondent.

Said Liz Tyson, Director of CAPS:

“We sincerely hope that the resolution of the Austrian court case will give rise to the Government taking the decision to make good their promise to listen to the will of the House of Commons and we are eager to clarify their next steps. If the perceived legal obstacles persist then the only way we can see to resolve the current impasse is to take the matter to court. We can speculate forever about what the outcome of a legal challenge to a ban might be and, during this procrastination period, animals will continue to suffer. We are asking Defra to allow this process to be decided once and for all and to work with us to seek a solution.”

Will Travers, CEO of the Born Free Foundation added:

“Having personally worked on this issue now for nearly two decades and in light of overwhelming public, Parliamentary and professional support for a ban, the Born Free Foundation and its supporters sincerely hope Defra will move swiftly and decisively to humanely end this form of wild animal exploitation. We seek nothing less than a guarantee that no wild animals will be subjected to life on the road when the circuses season starts again next spring.”

More on this story can be found in the Independent this morning: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/coalition-faces-court-fight-over-refusal-to-ban-circus-animals-6282997.html

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors:

For more information on the case in Austria: http://www.vfgh.gv.at/cms/vfgh-site/attachments/0/5/5/CH0003/CMS1324453358376/wildtierverbot_im_zirkus_g74-11.pdf