I agree that travelling circuses are no place for wild animals and I know this is a view that is shared by many local people and animal welfare organisations. There needs to be a clear definition in any Bill so there is no scope for circuses to make small tweaks and continue as before.
An outright ban is long overdue and I fought the General Election on a manifesto that included a commitment to ban wild animals in circuses. It is extremely disappointing that the Coalition Government failed to legislate during the last Parliament and failed to include legislation on this issue in the recent Queen's Speech.
I have signed Early Day Motion 192 on Wild Animals in Circuses which states "That this House notes that a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses was included in the manifestos of the Conservative, Labour and Green parties at the recent general election, showing the unified support across the House on this animal protection issue; recalls that 94 per cent of respondents to a Defra public consultation supported a ban and the House of Commons voted unanimously in favour of such a ban in 2011; further notes that currently two circuses with fewer than 20 wild animals are touring England and Wales; notes that a deadline of December 2015 was included in the Government's draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill; notes that the UK has fallen behind 31 countries which have introduced similar national measures; notes the work of Animal Defenders International highlighting circus suffering in the UK and currently assisting the Peruvian government to enforce a ban; and calls on the Government to bring forward this manifesto commitment at the earliest opportunity"
I have also written to the Secretary of State for Defra to urge that the banning bill is implemented swiftly.