Update 01/16/2015: According to Animal Defenders International, the initial bill proposed by the UK government to ban the use of wild animals in the circus has not yet be put into action, nor does it appear that PM David Cameron has made progress to have the bill instated. Jim Fitzpatrick, member of Parliament, has proposed a second bill that is identical to Cameron’s initial ban to encourage action, however, this second bill has been blocked for the 9th time on January 16, 2015.
With the recent happy news of Los Angeles’ ban on bullhooks, animal advocates and lovers can now rejoice again as the UK announces its soon-to-be official ban on ALL wild animals in circuses, joining other European nations like Austria, Greece, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ban is intended to be fully instituted starting in December 2015.
Prior to the all-country ban announcement, over 200 UK local authorities had placed bans on animal circuses with over two-thirds banning all performing animals, according to Animal Defenders International.
Leading animal protection nonprofits and associations such as the RSPCA, Born Free Foundation, the British Veterinary Association and the Captive Animals Protection Society worked together on the campaign to bring UK’s ban from dream to reality.
To ease circuses off from the use of animals, the RSPCA and Born Free Foundation have offered to help circus owners re-home their animals, reports the Daily Express.
An official date for the legislation still needs to be passed but the government is confident that it will. When it does, anyone who breaks the law after December 2015 will receive a heavy £5,000 ($8,000) fine, according to the BBC.
Earlier this year, there was some struggle in moving the ban forward as many felt a prohibition of all wild animals from circus went too far.
Some argued, including the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) select committee, that the ban should be limited to big cats and elephants only and that the government should still allow other species, like zebras and snakes, to be featured, as reported by the BBC.
Members of the British parliament decided that such an exception makes little sense as there is no basis for protecting just a select group of animals. And they’re right — no wild animal belongs in a circus — they belong in the wild.
From LA’s announcement to the UK’s, today is certainly a grand day for circus animals and the animal protection movement!
Image source: chensiyuan / Wikipedia Commons