Le-Surf calls for ban on wild animals in circuses

LABOUR parliamentary candidate, Mike Le-Surf, calls for residents of South Basildon and East Thurrock to write to their MP asking them to support a ban on wild animals in circuses.

As Labour’s parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock I know how much local residents love and care for their pets. I have also met many residents who agree that travelling circuses are no place for wild animals. This is the overwhelming view of the public, respected bodies of animal welfare and Members of Parliament.

The Labour Party has a proud tradition championing the protection and welfare of animals. We introduced the historic Animal Welfare Act in 2006 and more recently in 2010 we took the decision to pursue a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

However this intention was not shared by incoming the Tory-led Government. Instead David Cameron decided in May 2011 to introduce a licensing system, rather than a ban.

This Government prescribed that any circus in England that wished to have wild animals in circuses such as lions, tigers and elephants performing would need to be able to demonstrate that they meet high animal welfare standards for each animal before they can be granted a license to keep these animals.

This is the wrong and outdated approach. No travelling circus could ever provide a suitable environment or meet the particular needs of wild animals such as elephants or lions.

We cannot continue to justify keeping captive wild animals which are endangered or threatened purely for our own entertainment.

David Cameron has repeatedly stated that he is sympathetic to a ban when ‘Parliamentary time allows’. Last year in April his Government even published a draft Bill prohibiting the use of wild animals in circuses. So I am appalled at a time where we have very little legislation that this Bill wasn’t included in this year’s Queen Speech. As a member of the Labour Animal Welfare Society I am delighted that on the 3rd September Jim Fitzpatrick MP will present an important Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons calling on the Government to introduce the necessary legislation to end the practice. I hope you will join me in support by writing to your MP and asking him to back this Bill.

Cllr. Mike Le-Surf

Parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock

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