Our circus campaign forms the cornerstone of our campaigning work as the cruel use of animals in circuses was the very issue that prompted our founder, Irene Heaton, to establish CAPS back in 1957. It continues to be at the forefront of our campaigning and advocacy work today.
See a list of circuses in the UK that use animals and those that are animal- free here.
CAPS maintains its position on the use of animals in circuses on the following grounds:
Ethics: We maintain that forcing any animal to perform for human entertainment is unethical and cannot be justified. Furthermore, we believe that the use of animals in circuses sends a damaging message to the general public, and particularly children and young people, by the implication that animals can be manipulated for our amusement despite the animal gaining no benefit from the practice. The practice implies that the animals’ own lives hold no inherent value in their own right; the use of circus animals therefore have negative educational impact.
Welfare: By virtue of the travelling nature of many circuses, the temporary accommodation for animals, the confined quarters, the training practices and the exposure of animals to unnatural situations during performances, we maintain that animal welfare cannot be guaranteed in circuses. In addition, some species of animal may have the added disadvantage of being kept in an unnatural climate, unnatural social groupings and be prevented from carrying out their natural behaviours as a direct result of being kept by a circus. This is particularly the case with wild, or non-native species of animal.
- July 2012, Animal Welfare Minister annouces that work is underway on draft legislation towards a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses
- Animal circus visitor numbers halved between 2007 and 2011
- Government states it will bring in a ban on the use of wild animals before next General Election
- CAPS congratulates Paulos Circus Americano for becoming an ‘all human extravaganza”
- 95% of DEFRA consultation respondents support a ban on the use of wild animals in 2010
- Animal circuses at an all time low in 2011
- Hundreds of local authorities exercising a ban on the use of public grounds for animal circuses
We are delighted to report that, on the 12th July 2012, Government officials announced that work on the legislation to ban the use of wild animals in circuses in England is now underway.
The announcement came on the same day that responses to the public consultation on unpopular plans to license the circuses with wild animals as a temporary measure were released.
We maintain that the licensing regime cannot protect animals in circuses and that the Government should abandon plans in favour of pushing through the ban at the earliest opportunity.
Despite this, along with other members of the coalition of leading animal charities working to see an end to animal suffering in circuses, we have restated our commitment to work with Government to see the ban implemented as soon as possible.
CAPS, along with a coalition of leading animal welfare charities working on the circus animal issue, have released this official statement in response: Click here to read more