Circus animals spend the majority of their lives either caged or chained. All are forced into learning and performing tricks strictly for human entertainment. As a number of undercover videos have shown, many of these animals suffer immensely at the hands of trainers.

The Performing Animal Welfare Society reports that animals learn tricks through “extreme physical coercion and violence, including the restriction of food and/or water, use of bull hooks, stun guns and other electric shock devices as well as metal bars, whips, and intimidation.”

A number of towns and countries have stood up to cruelty and have banned the use of wild animals in circuses and in 2013, the U.K. positioned itself to join the likes of Austria, Croatia, Greece, Bolivi, and Peru in enacting a similar ban, intending the draft bill to go into full effect in 2015.

The bill was prompted by Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) investigation showing the “brutal violence and constant chaining of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus,” as Look to the Stars reports.

However, since the ban’s much-welcomed announcement, progress has been relatively slow. ADI along with former MEP Stanly Johnson and social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell have recently called on Prime Minister David Cameron to bring the draft bill forward and get it implemented.

“Circuses that persist in using wild animals undermine conservation efforts by demeaning animals and presenting them as playthings. These animals belong in their natural wild habitat, not the circus,” said Johnson.

Thankfully, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has listened to ADI’s, Johnson’s, and Tatchell’s pleas and has promised to carry out the government’s ban on wild animal use in circuses. Hooray!

After 20 years of waiting and with over 200 local U.K. authorities with circus bans to their name, Prime Minister Cameron’s promise marks a great future ahead for the animal protection movement.

Image source: Laura Bittner / Flickr