Circus Ban Tricks

Last month I wrote about the strange reluctance of the government to pass the circus ban.  On the day the ban was voted through, the Conservative MP who had brought the ban, Mark Pritchard, claimed that the PM had made, first offers, then threats, if he continued with his report.  Despite this strange reluctance, the ban was voted for by a majority in the commons.  I’m finding it rather baffling that this doesn’t seem to count for anything.

More baffling though, is a short YouTube video that charity Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPs) haver recently posted.  It refutes the government’s original reason for their hesitation over the ban.  The government claimed a ban would be likely to come up against European laws.  DEFRA minister James Paice said that Austria, who had passed a ban on keeping captive circus animals, were being taken to court over the issue.  Captive Animals’ Protection Society now say no such case ever existed.  In fact, ruling from the European commission seems to say that the matter is to be decided by its member states.

The CAPs’s video also states Caroline Spelman, secretary of state for the Environment, saying that The Independent had reported that the Austrian government had been taken to court.  Again, the video disputes this.  Although the Independent did report this, it wasn’t until after Caroline Spelman’s comments.

But maybe the most ridiculous statement of all is from James Paice again, who is reported to have suggested that banning circus animals might be seen as an infringement on our human rights.  Now, although it wouldn’t surprise me to know that some people in Britain might take this view, I would expect them to be a serious minority of cold hearted individuals.  My original post on the subject mentions that something like 94% of people had been for the ban.  If this fact is correct, it seems that James Paice is worrying a disproportionate amount about the infringement of the rights of the final 6% of the population.  More’s the point – where exactly, in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, or in the over quoted American constitution (Does the UK even have one of these?  If it does, Hollywood certainly hasn’t covered it…), does it read ‘All men are born equal, and have the right to see animals from the wild perform for their amusement in circuses’?’

What is maybe most worrying is that James Paice is Animal Welfare Minister.  He seems to have been a bad choice.  While looking at the CAPs’ facebook page yesterday I came across a petition to get James Paice out of his position.  It states that:

“In the 12 months that Jim Paice has been Animal Welfare Minister he has:
Refused to ban wild animal in circuses. Overturned a ban on battery cages for game birds. As Hunting and Shooting Minister, committed to a repeal of the Hunting Act. Routinely voiced his support for a badger cull. Ended badger vaccination trials. Dropped charges against slaughterhouse offenders. Reduced the number of vets at markets. Stated his intention to reduce on-farm inspections. Declared his support for the offspring of cloned animals to be killed for their meat and milk. Backed the sustainable intensification of the livestock industry.”

If all of these charges are correct, James Paice certainly doesn’t seem like the right man for the job.  In fact, I am wondering why a man who doesn’t seem to like animals got the job of Animal Welfare Minister?

Back to the ban though, on the 5th of July, despite public support and the vote in the commons, Lord Henley rejects the ban.  Baffled doesn’t really cover it, does it?  What exactly has to happen for this ban to be passed?  And why, why are the government so against it?  It’s time for a letter to Oliver Letwin MP again, but, seeing as he didn’t respond to my last letter on the subject, I’m not sure this one will do much good either.


About EcoTheme

Welcome to EcoTheme. I’m from the the county of Dorset in the South West of England. Having studied environmental ethics and written a Masters dissertation on the ethics of sustainable living I now work with Campaign against Climate Change and Greenpeace. I started EcoTheme to present discussion and views on things going on in the environmental world. It should become clear through my posts that I believe our environmental problems to be the most pressing matters of the day – not simply because I place value in our natural world but also because it is the platform on which all life depends.
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