Last week a proposal to ban the use of wild animals in circuses in England and Wales was successfully passed in the House of Commons – a move welcomed by the Member of Parliament for East Ham, Stephen Timms. 

In 2009 a BBC investigation found that there were an estimated 39 wild animals being used in UK circuses. These included elephants, tigers, lions, camels, zebras and crocodiles. At that time Labour consulted on a ban of wild animals in the circus and received more than 10,000 responses.

The response was overwhelmingly positive with 94.5% of respondents supporting a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses - believing a ban was the best option for achieving consistently better welfare standards for the animals. In addition, 95.5% of respondents believed that there are no species of wild animal which should be used in travelling circuses.
 
Following on from the findings, Labour committed to introduce the ban on wild animals in circuses. However, the Tory-led government delayed on the issue for over a year and continued to try and delay the ban right up until the debate on Thursday last week. At the eleventh hour, David Cameron completed yet another u-turn and decided not to oppose the ban after all.
 
Stephen Timms MP for East Ham, commented, “The ban on the use of wild animals in circuses is certainly a positive step forward for animal welfare in England and Wales. Along with the majority of the public, Labour has consistently acknowledged the importance of this ban. It is just a shame that the Government has taken so long to do something it should have done a whole year ago.”

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AuthorStephen Timms