Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Following a concerted effort by CAPS over the last five months, government department, Defra, were told that they must release inspection reports for the two remaining circuses in England using wild animals (Peter Jolly’s and Circus Mondao) into the public domain. CAPS was given first sight of the reports which, a spokesperson said, “demonstrate clearly what we have known all along – that this regime is doomed to fail the animals”.
In January this year, as the Government’s heavily criticised licensing regime for wild animals in circuses was about to become law, CAPS issued a formal request to Defra for copies of inspection reports for circuses that had applied for licences in advance of the new legislation. Despite promises made in Parliament that the new inspection regime would be as transparent as possible, the request was flatly refused by Government.
Undeterred, CAPS pursued the information and demanded a formal review. After months of unnecessary delay, the reports were finally released this afternoon. The CAPS team will be carrying out a detailed analysis of the documents in the coming days but one major cause for concern was immediately apparent upon first reading.
Given the serious concerns raised year-on-year over animal welfare during performance and training in travelling circuses, CAPS researchers were shocked to see that neither performance or training were assessed during the licensing process.
In the case of Peter Jolly’s circus, the inspector states that:
“The training and performance equipment was packed away in storage off the winter quarters site and not available for inspection” and “no training or performance is undertaken during the winter rest period and so this was not observed”.
For Mondao, the inspector states:
“The animals that come under this licence are not undergoing training during the winter period”.
Despite making no assessment whatsoever of these areas of very serious concern, the licences were granted regardless.
Said CAPS Director, Liz Tyson:
“Whilst the outright ban for wild animals has finally been confirmed for 2015, we remain extremely concerned for those animals still used in travelling circuses.
“It has been obvious from the outset that a system predominantly reliant on pre-arranged inspections, carried out over just a few hours, was never going to offer a true picture of the lives that animals must endure for years on end. But that the inspection regime has not even looked at the performance and training of animals in circuses, and the businesses are licensed regardless, means that those who may have had some faith in the system are likely to be asking serious questions about what it has achieved. In our opinion, it appears to have done little more than legitimise an outdated and cruel practice without scrutiny”.
CAPS continues to support peaceful demonstrations to raise awareness of the welfare and ethical concerns related to the use of animals in circuses. Ms Tyson added:
“It is our hope that, by the time the ban comes in, we will have seen circuses go animal-free as a result of public pressure. Demonstrations and public awareness work has helped to drive audience numbers down to an all-time low. The ban is vital to ensure that the door is closed once and for all on this archaic form of animal exploitation”.
The show must NOT go on! Can you help us to ensure that demonstrations can continue by giving to our urgent circus campaign today?