Anger over Government back-track on wild animal circus ban

CAPS and campaign partners  from The Born Free Foundation, The British Veterinary Association and the RSPCA are today demanding answers from Government over its apparent backtracking on the repeated promise to introduce a wild animal circus ban in England as the proposed law was notably absent in this morning’s Queen’s Speech. The Queen’s Speech marks the formal opening of a Parliamentary session and outlines the pieces of proposed legislation which have the Government’s commitment and are due to come into force during the session.

Tiger Duffy's Circus 2012

Circus animal exploitation looks set to continue

If the Bill to ban had been mentioned, this would have meant that it was almost certain to be introduced before May next year, when Parliament is dissolved ahead of the General Election. Its absence from the monarch’s speech, it has been suggested, means that hopes of seeing a ban on the use of animals such as tigers, lions and elephants in English circuses before the end of next year are all but gone. The move has been branded a “betrayal of both the public and the animals”.

The campaign to end the use of wild animals in circuses – a practice which is already illegal in a number of countries around the world – has been running for many years and, following significant stalling, widespread celebrations ensued when the UK Government finally made the commitment in March 2012 to introduce a ban in England before the end of next year. In recent days, rumours began to emerge that the ban had been shelved until “after the General Election”; something which appears to have been borne out since there was no mention of the proposed legislative measures in this morning’s Queen’s Speech.

Said CAPS Director, Liz Tyson:

“We know that our supporters will be as angry as we are that the Government appears to have, once again, back-tracked on its promise to protect the wild animals currently being exploited in circus shows in this country. There have been rumours that promises have been made that action may be taken after next year’s General Election but the current Government cannot make promises on behalf of any future Government and so any statements to this effect are meaningless”.

Ms Tyson said that CAPS would work with campaign partners to pursue the issue with senior officials and added that, with enough support, there may still be an opportunity to convince the Government to go ahead with the ban as promised. Whilst measures that are almost certain to be introduced are included in the Queen’s Speech, there are still opportunities for other laws to come into force. She added:

“It is vital that we remind the Government of the promise they made to us and the animals. We are asking supporters to take action today to do just that in the hope that we can ensure that the ban does not slip from our reach”.

What you can do

Get #wherestheban trending!

If you have a Twitter account, you can let the world know about your thoughts on the government’s failure to protect wild animals in circuses. Tweet, including the hashtag #wherestheban, to share your concerns.

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Write to your MP

We know that you have done it before, but we need to ask you to do it again. Please write to your MP today to ask them to place pressure on Government to do the right thing. To find out the contact details of your MP, visit and enter your postcode to send a message straight to your MP.

Suggested wording:

Dear [MP Name],

I was extremely disappointed to find that the proposed Bill to ban the use of wild animals in circuses was not included in the Queen’s Speech on the 4th June. This suggests that the promise that the long-overdue ban will be introduced before the end of next year seems very unlikely to be fulfilled. As you may know, the promise was originally made back in March 2012, and has been repeated numerous times since then. It now seems that the Government is back-tracking on that commitment. This is unacceptable. I would be grateful if you could follow up this concern with the relevant officials and impress upon them the importance of bringing in the ban prior to the General Election in May next year.

Yours Sincerely, [Your Name]



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