Circus animals veto welcomed

Anne the Elephant with Bobby Roberts and (below) Mandy Leigh.

Anne the Elephant with Bobby Roberts and (below) Mandy Leigh.

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A BAN on wild animals performing tricks in the circus was today welcomed by animal rights’ campaigners.

Laws to stop tigers, camels, zebras and snakes being used as performing animals in circuses have been announced by the government.

Mandy Leigh

Mandy Leigh

The country’s last performing elephant, Anne, who was with Bobby Roberts Super Circus – a regular fixture in Fleetwood – was moved to Longleat Safari Park after footage emerged of her being mistreated last year.

Mandy Leigh, from Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, in St Annes, has welcomed the proposals.

She said: “It has been too long coming. I’m not saying all circuses are cruel but at the end of the day elephants should not be wandering round in circuses, lions should not be doing tricks and to me that’s cruel. I think it’s terrible for wild animals to be anywhere apart from the wild and safari parks where they are trying to conserve them.”

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Bobby Roberts Circus also used to have a camel, but now only has horses, ponies and dogs – which won’t be affected by the new legislation.

Before the new laws are implemented owners of travelling circuses will have to meet tough new standards to ensure the welfare of wild animals.

Animal Welfare Minister Lord Taylor said: “There is no place in today’s society for wild animals being used for our entertainment in travelling circuses. Wild animals deserve our respect.”

But national animal welfare organisations have raised concerns the ban may not be implemented quickly enough.

Jan Creamer of Animal Defenders International (ADI), who exposed the mistreatment of Anne, said: “We’ve been down this road before, delay after delay while animals continue to suffer.

“The abuses cannot be addressed by an inspection.”

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