I firmly believe that it is our duty to safeguard animals, uphold animal rights and prevent animal cruelty. This is why I have been supporting the campaign to ban animals in circuses since 2015, and am glad that the ban is now, finally, coming into effect.
I agree with animal rights organisations such as the RSPCA that animals do not belong in circuses. In many cases these animals are packed and cramped into very small spaces, including large animals such as elephants and zebras. This in itself is an example of misconduct. As you can understand, it is not within their nature to be held captive and can therefore be extremely damaging to their welfare and well-being.
I previously backed Will Quince’s Private Member’s Bill to ban animals in circuses, and Jim Fitzpatrick’s Private Members’ Bill (Wild Animals in Circuses Bill) which had the same aim. Although neither of these Bills was successful, the campaign continued and a new Bill, backed by the Government, has now passed into law and come into effect.
This result was long overdue, and it is a shame that it took so long for it to be achieved. However, I am pleased and relieved by the fact that the use of animals in circuses is now illegal. I am glad that we have finally joined the growing list of countries that have already taken this step.
It is worth mentioning that these laws do not prevent circuses from owning animals, just the use of these animals. Despite this, we can consider the passing of this law as a major milestone as this long-running campaign has borne fruit. This is undoubtedly a big step in the right direction and can be celebrated.