Debates in Parliament | Wild Animals in Circuses

Posted on: 27th June 2011

See Andrew’s contribution in context here

Andrew George (St Ives, Liberal Democrat)

I am sure that there will be party political points to be scored throughout the debate; I congratulate those who have called it. Does the hon. Lady accept, however, that there is a gathering consensus, with the Government’s body language since the announcement on 13 May indicating that there is a growing preference in Government for a ban?

Nia Griffith (Llanelli, Labour)

We want a definitive decision to be taken today. We want that decision to go in favour of a ban, and we want that ban to be implemented without

any further delays of any sort whatsoever. The consultation clearly indicates where public opinion stands and the reasons why. I am not going to keep listing the terrible instances of cruelty that we have heard about. Even if there were no deliberate cruelty, it is clear to anybody that the lifestyle of always popping in and out of a cage and performing and travelling is not something that anybody could possibly understand as the way that a wild animal would be expected to behave.

On the business about 10 generations, even in the case of our own cats and dogs who may be 10 generations domesticated, we have cat flaps and take dogs for walks. We certainly do not expect them to live the life of popping in and out of a cage and being isolated from other members of their species and taken right of their environment. That is clearly incompatible with their natural way of life. There are many opportunities for young people to see how animals can live in the wild using hidden cameras. We have experts and naturalists who produce fabulous films. We can click on our computers and see it all. We can go to a safari park, without having to travel abroad, to see animals who can be kept in certain ways in this country.