It’s time for action: NO to licensing, YES to a ban!

It has been announced that the regulations to license the use of wild animals in circuses in England are being debated in the House of Lords next Wednesday the 24th October and in the House of Commons on Monday the 29th October. The Commons debate is the last chance to stop the ill-conceived plans for licensing of the use of wild animals in circuses from becoming law.

Since our last update, CAPS and coalition partners have met with Defra officials who have confirmed that:

– Whilst promises have been made that the eventual ban will cover ALL wild animals in travelling circuses in England, there is still the possibility that this might not be the case. A species-specific ban is still on the table, meaning some wild animals might get left behind;

– The regulations, which were publicised as “temporary” may stay in force for some animals permanently if a full ban is not introduced;

– Defra have been unable to answer our serious questions on how the regulations will be enforced which has confirmed our analysis that the regulations are unenforceable and, therefore, simply will not work.

Any system which seeks to legitimise and prolong a practice that is deemed cruel, unethical and unacceptable should simply not be supported.

A detailed analysis of the draft regulations for licensing of the unpopular practice of using wild animals in travelling circuses has been carried out by CAPS, the Born Free Foundation, British Veterinary Association and the RSPCA. The groups have produced a briefing document for MPs highlighting the significant flaws in the proposals. CAPS Director, Liz Tyson, said:

“The proposed regulations will not only fail to protect animals from suffering but our analysis has shown that they cannot even be enforced, making them effectively meaningless”.

It is essential that as many MPs as possible attend the Commons debate and vote against the plans to license this  unacceptable practice.

Please act now to help us take a step closer to the real solution to end animal suffering in circuses: an outright ban.

Step 1: Please join us in calling on Lord de Mauley to withdraw the regulations. They are unethical, ineffective, unenforceable and will not stop animal suffering in circuses. Please send a polite email outlining your concerns and asking him to withdraw the regulations to Please include a link to the briefing document in your email to inform him of the issues with the plans.

Step 2: Please write to your MP and ask that they reject the licensing scheme. Please include a link to our briefing document to ensure that they understand why licensing is unethical, unenforceable and in conflict with Government promises for a ban. To find out who your MP is, and how to contact them, visit and search using your postcode.

Please share widely – thank you.

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