Broken promises are never good news, and that’s especially true when a broken promise enables animal cruelty. Alas, that’s exactly what’s happening in the UK right now. Although the government pledged to pass legislation that would ban circuses from taking animals from the wild to add to their shows, they’ve suddenly backtracked on this vow.
Accordingly, the Care2 community has started a petition to demand that the British Parliament follow through with its original promise.
For two years, the British government has claimed it would protect wildlife from potential animal cruelty. When the bill was finally brought to the House of Commons floor, however, MP Andrew Rosindell blocked the potential legislation altogether.
The reasons for this surprising obstruction were not immediately clear. After Rosindell received many angry emails and letters from animal lovers for killing the legislation, Rosindell is justifying his lack of support by insisting that other government officials asked him to stop this bill on their behalf.
Even if that’s true, it’s hard to ignore Rosindell’s personal connection to circuses. In addition to having an affiliation with the now defunct Great British Circus, Rosindell has previously written that leaving animals in a circus is “the kindest thing” one can do for them.
As for the legislation at hand, Rosindell dismissed the helpfulness of the bill. “It means nothing. There is a very tiny number of animals left in the UK circus and no cruelty,” he said. “Cruelty existed years ago, it is no longer there.” If his original claims weren’t enough, Rosindell also utilized a groan-worthy slippery slope excuse, stating that this bill would lead to subsequent legislation that would ban people from even owning dogs.
While it’s true that circuses are declining in popularity in the UK, that hasn’t stopped animals from being imported into the country as circus entertainment. What’s worse is that circuses currently have lower requirements for standard of care than zoos. This is especially absurd considering that these animals need and deserve the same kind while touring with a circus as they do while living at a zoo.
“There has been a clear commitment by government to bring in a ban, yet time and again we have witnessed attempts to avoid taking action on this matter,” said David Bowles, a leader at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He listed small cages, excessive travel, and forced performances as some of the reasons circuses need further regulation.
One poll put public support for this legislation at an overwhelming 94%. Show the British House of Commons just how much we care about this issue by signing the petition to pressure them to fulfill their initial promise.