Alex Sobel’s campaign to end the use of wild animals in circuses has been successful a new act set to outlaw the practice.
Mr Sobel, Labour MP for Leeds North West, has lobbied hard for the Government to end the use of wild animals in circuses. Wild animal is defined as any animal not commonly domesticated in Great Britain.
Speaking back in September 2017, Mr Sobel called on landowners to stop providing places for animal circuses to operate. Speaking then to the Yorkshire Evening Post he said, “Life on the road is wholly unsuitable for creatures who need space to roam and pastures to graze.” This comment came during a time of protest over a circus using animals being staged at a site at Otley Old Road. Additional concern was raised by local animal rights protesters about the effect of air traffic noise on the animals with many saying it could cause enhanced distress.
In Parliament yesterday, campaign groups celebrated as new legislation sought to ban the practice. Speaking at the debate Mr Sobel said “I would like some reassurance from the Minister about a circus that operates in my constituency—Circus Mondao—which has a zebra and two camels. I have been campaigning for it to cease the use of these, and I ask that the Bill cover that so that I can happily go to Circus Mondao in the knowledge that, because of this Act, it is not using wild animals.”
David Rutley MP (con, Macclesfield), Undersecretary of State for Food and Animal Welfare said, “The hon. Gentleman sets things out incredibly clearly, as he has done on others Bills I have been involved in. Absolutely—I can categorically say that, at commencement of this Act, those practices will no longer be able to be taken forward, so his campaign will have come to fruition. I hope that reassures him.”
Animal rights group PETA UK said “At PETA, we're thrilled that the government has finally introduced the long-awaited bill to ban wild animals in circuses. It comes after years of countless protests, ad campaigns, and pressure from 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.
It's unthinkable that in 2019, animals continue to be caged, chained, beaten into submission, and deprived of all that's natural and important to them. For them, the passage of this bill into law can't come soon enough. Around the world, animal circuses – as well as other institutions that cruelly imprison animals for human entertainment, including SeaWorld and other marine abusement parks – are on the decline, and we're rejoicing.”