Today Is the Day: No More Wild Animals Will Be Exploited in Circuses in England

Posted by on January 19, 2020 | Permalink

Rejoice! In a fitting start to the decade – and after years of campaigning by PETA and other animal protection organisations – from today, circus operators across England will no longer be allowed to exploit wild animals in the name of human entertainment.

This momentous day follows years of grassroots protests, ad campaigns, and pressure from animal protection groups, celebrities, and the public – including the 94% of British people who responded to the government consultation on this issue by demanding a complete and permanent ban.

PETA’s Campaign to Ban Wild-Animal Circuses

Our campaign against wild-animal circuses has included e-mail actions, in which PETA members contacted their MPs on key dates and around parliamentary debates in 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2017. Some celebrities even stormed Parliament in eye-catching protests that were hard to ignore.

Our petition urging Michael Gove and environment ministers before him to introduce a ban garnered tens of thousands of signatures – a testament to the shift in perspective on animal rights and the growing calls for the government to take action against animal exploitation.

The campaign also involved powerful PETA ads over the years, including ones starring Little Mix and Ashleigh and Pudsey. Targeted ads were also released, including a 2012 image of then–Prime Minister David Cameron in clown make-up, encouraging him to stop clowning around and enact the ban he had promised, and a 2017 ad that ran in The House, the Parliament magazine, reminding ministers that lions belong in the wild, not in chains. Last year, we also gave oral testimony before the Parliament committee discussing the bill that will now become law.

Westminster protest for circus animals

The campaign has been long, and UK animal protection groups put forward unified initiatives, such as a 2012 open letter encouraging the government to reverse its decision to pursue a licensing scheme rather than a ban. Groups including the RSPCA, Animal Justice Project, the Born Free Foundation, Animal Defenders International, Viva!, Animal Aid, and the Captive Animals’ Protection Society also joined PETA in sending a letter in 2016, at the return of Parliament, to remind then–Prime Minister Theresa May to roll up her sleeves and get to work on introducing a ban.

Wild Animals Don’t Belong in Circuses

Forcing wild animals to perform confusing tricks is a barbaric practice that has no place in a compassionate society.

Wild animals used in travelling circuses are carted from one venue to another in cramped cages and barren trailers and are taught to perform tricks through the threat of punishment.

People around the world are recognising that wild-animal circuses are cruel, and many countries have made these inhumane spectacles illegal, including both Ireland and Scotland, which implemented bans in 2018.

©Jo-Anne McArthur / One Voice

Earlier this year, a proposed law banning wild-animal circuses won cross-party support in Wales. It will be a big win for animals when it is passed, which needs to happen in 2020.

What You Can Do

Never, ever attend a wild-animal circus or any other exhibit that exploits animals for entertainment. Instead, opt for animal-free family activities.

Please also speak out for marine animals held in captivity by urging TUI to stop selling tickets to SeaWorld: