With public opinion solidly behind no longer having wild animals in circuses, Britain’s Conservative government has caved to the pressure and agreed to a complete ban.
This means that within two years, circuses will not be able to use the likes of elephants and tigers in their acts.
An estimated 150-200 animals are currently held in circuses, and 35 to 50 of these are wild animals: zebras, lions, snakes, tigers, camels, a kangaroo and crocodiles. There are no elephants currently at circuses since the last one, Annie, was retired and placed in a sanctuary last year in the wake of a media-driven campaign on her behalf.
In parliament, the campaign was driven by Mark Pritchard, a Conservative back-bencher, who embarrassed Prime Minister David Cameron by bringing a non-binding resolution to a vote.
He caused a political storm by claiming that he had been bullied by the government into dropping his motion, and that he’d been offered a job if he fell into line.
A government spokesperson said, “We always said we were minded to ban wild animals performing in travelling circus, the only issue being that we have to be sure that it cannot be overturned legally.”
Until the ban takes effect, a tough new licensing regime will be introduced to ensure welfare standards.