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Friday, March 2, 2012

British gov't plan to ban wild animals in circuses criticized by campaigners

(Xinhua)

from: peopledaily.com.cn

March 02, 2012

LONDON, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The British government announced on Thursday that it planned to ban wild animals from circuses, but the move was met with criticism by those who had campaigned for the issue.
The government's plan to ban circuses in Britain from using performing wild animals, like tigers, lions, and elephants, came after the suffering of an elephant in a British circus was exposed by an animal rights' group, Animal Defenders International (ADI).
ADI told Xinhua on Thursday afternoon that the government plans were "useless" and "a cynical ploy" by the British coalition government.
"There is absolutely overwhelming evidence of circus suffering and not a single animal welfare body that will defend this industry," said Jan Creamer, chief executive of ADI.
"We were promised a ban in 2006. This was followed by consultations, expert examinations, working parties, impact assessments and feasibility studies. The last public consultation gave an overwhelming 95 percent of public in favor of a ban," he said.
Members of Parliament had voted to ban wild animals from circuses last June, but their vote was not binding on the government and did not become law.
MP Mark Pritchard, one of the main campaigners in parliament for a ban, said, "Any licensing scheme should also guarantee that no new wild animals are imported into British circuses. I don't believe the government when it says it will move towards a ban."
Animal welfare minister Lord Taylor said, "We are developing proposals to introduce a bill as soon as parliamentary time allows. In the meantime we are introducing a Circus Licensing Scheme to ensure decent conditions for wild animals in traveling circuses," Taylor said.
Under the scheme, anyone responsible for a traveling circus with wild animals must have a license, and agree to welfare standards and a retirement plan for the animals.

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