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Local MP warns the government can still stall a ban on circus animals

Bridget fighting for Sunderland in the HOC1Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson, has warned the Tory-led government can still stall a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, despite Parliament passing a motion forcing the government to introduce a ban by the beginning of next year.

The previous Labour government pledged to implement a ban following a public consultation in which 10,000 people replied, 94% were in favour of the ban. Furthermore, over 25,000 people have signed a petition, which was set up by the Independent Newspaper, calling for a ban.

The government have taken over a year to make a decision on the use of wild animals in circuses. The Secretary of State for DEFRA, Caroline Spelman MP, and her Ministers have also misled the House of Commons by suggesting a ban was not possible because of a on-going legal challenge, it was against EU law, and against human rights. However, these claims are unfounded and there are no legal barriers preventing the government from introducing a ban on the use of circus animals.

Instead of a ban, the Government was proposing a licensing scheme for wild animals in circuses – a proposal rejected by the RSPCA and British Veterinary Association on animal welfare grounds.

Speaking after the motion was passed, Bridget said:

“The government had the authority, the support of the British people and the means to introduce a ban - but failed to act. It’s taken a motion in Parliament to mobilise a department, which is already in special measures following the forest sell-off debacle, delays to the Water White Paper and a 27% cut to flood defence projects.

“Despite the positive result, I’m concerned the government could stall implementing a ban by not introducing the required legislation until the latest possible moment. I will continue to pressure the government to introduce such a bill at the earliest opportunity."

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