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Practical Issues > Animals for Entertainment > Circuses

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Oct. 2005
New MORI poll says no to circus animal cruelty

 

80% say ban all wild animal circus acts.
65% say ban all animal circus acts.
90% against whipping and beating when training circus animals.

More than twice as many people now visit animal-free circuses as opposed to those with animals.

A new MORI poll carried out between 30 September and 2 October, which was commissioned by Animal Defenders International (ADI), shows an overwhelming 80% of the public agree that wild animals should be banned from circuses.

Norman Baker, Shadow Environment Secretary for Liberal Democrats told ADI: "There is no place in a civilised society for the use of wild animals in circuses. The needs of these animals and the needs of circuses are incompatible. In the twenty first century, surely it's time to pull the plug on wild animals in circuses and the government should use the forthcoming Animal Welfare Bill as a vehicle to achieve that."

The poll is unequivocal on the use of wild/exotic animals such as tigers, elephants and bears in circuses - all of which toured the UK with circuses this year. The poll found that with a large majority of 80% saying it is not acceptable for them to be used in circuses, only a tiny 2% strongly support their continued use.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI, commented: "The Government has been presented with a huge dossier of evidence of suffering inside animal circuses, and now this is backed by massive public support. With the best will in the world travelling circuses cannot provide adequately for the animals in their care. The public knows this, and it is time for the Government to acknowledge it and use the Animal Welfare Bill to end this archaic abuse."

These latest findings show that, despite a lower profile in the media, concern about the use of domestic animals such as horses and ponies is rising. A significant 65% believe that the use of all performing animals should be banned from circuses. Last week ADI released footage taken during training sessions with a circus in Portugal, in which a pony was repeatedly whipped to force it to walk on its hind legs.

The poll also reveals that more than twice as many people visited animal-free circuses as circuses with animals over the last five years - six years ago these figures were neck and neck.

Jan Creamer added: "Since we began our campaign exposing the brutal reality of life for circus animals, the number of animal circuses has more than halved, and the number of animal-free circuses has doubled. We have seen the UK's largest suppliers of circus animal acts - Mary Chipperfield Promotions and Chipperfield Enterprises - closed down. The public have seen the evidence and responded immediately, and this poll confirms the strength of feeling is rising. It is time for the Government to listen and to act as decisively."

Next Tuesday, 18 October, DEFRA Minister Ben Bradshaw is to address the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) at the House of Commons on the next phase of the Animal Welfare Bill. ADI are scheduled to question the Minister on the subject of animals in
circuses.

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