Norman Baker MP has called for a total ban on wild animals in circuses and urged the Prime Minister to ensure a law is passed before the General Election in May.
Norman recently joined a delegation featuring a number of cross-party MPs and Animal Defenders International representatives outside Number 10, Downing Street to deliver a petition with 20,000 signatories to the Prime Minister, who had promised that wild animals in circuses would be banned.
Presently, a strict licencing regime is in place to protect wild animals. Any operator who has wild animals as part of their travelling circus must comply with high welfare standards before a licence may be issued or renewed. Government vets are required to make regular inspections, ensuring that these strict standards are being upheld.
Little progress has been made on an outright ban despite David Cameron’s promises, prompting a Bill from Jim Fitzpatrick MP to bring the Government’s own draft legislation forward. The Bill, which enjoys cross-party support, has been repeatedly blocked by a Conservative MP.
Lewes Lib Dem MP Norman Baker says: “Thankfully the use of wild animals in circuses has decreased in recent years and the size of this industry, which now comprises less than 30 wild animals in total, is also very small. However, I would like to see a total ban on wild animals in circuses.
“Last April, the Prime Minister made a personal promise to Animal Defenders International that he was committed to ending what he called “an outdated practice” – yet little progress has been made. I would like to see David Cameron stay true to his word and ensure this law is passed before the General Election.”