SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has supported the introduction of a new Bill at Westminster this week which will ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
Parliament voted unanimously in favour of a ban in 2011, and the government first announced that it would take action on this issue in March 2012. However, a delay in bringing in a ban has seen the number of wild animal acts increase and the return of big cats to circuses in the UK.
This Bill (which is identical to the one published by the government last year and scrutinised by MPs) would ban wild animal acts by the end of 2015.
Mr Durkan, a long-standing supporter of the campaign for the ban spearheaded by Animal Defenders International (ADI), said: “It is important that this Bill can become law quickly so that the wild animals currently performing in circuses can be spared any further suffering. Given the level of public support that the ban enjoys – a resounding 94% - I am hopeful progress can be made.”
ADI President Jan Creamer said: “ADI is delighted to have the support of Mark Durkan on this important issue. A ban on the use of wild animals in circuses enjoys overwhelming political and public backing, so we hope the Prime Minister and government will get behind this new bill to finally bring an end, as promised, to the suffering of lions, tigers and other wild animals in circuses.”
Dame Judi Dench and Ricky Gervais join a long list of ADI celebrity supporters who want to see a ban on wild animal acts – including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Roger Moore, Brian May, Moby, Imelda Staunton, Eddie Izzard, Twiggy, Annette Crosbie and Brian Blessed.