Wild Animals in Circuses (No.2) Bill

Written evidence Mrs Julie Williams (WAC01)

I would like to question this bill and to let you know that I and my family totally oppose it. I would like to know how you come to the conclusion that "around 95%" of the population support a ban. I see that there is a referral to a consultation held in 2009, well myself, my family nor anyone at all that I know (or even random people that I have asked while out and about) have ever been consulted - not then or even in recent years. To be able to give an accurate figure you should consult every single household so that we could all have our say rather than you all listening to the likes of PETA etc. I, and many others, would like the freedom of choice to decide whether or not to visit an animal based circus. I would also like to question how many of the MP's voting for this bill have actually been to see the circus' in question? I have not seen Peter Jolly's, but I see Circus Mondao year upon year and their animals are wonderful. They are healthy, happy and you can see that they enjoy what they do. They are also given plenty of space to roam around and graze, they also get plenty of stimulation as well as fresh grazing, stopping them from being bored or depressed. They would lose this stimulation and fresh grazing if they were not allowed to travel, as well as being separated from the owners they know and trust who have reared them and who they have known all their lives.

A lot of comments from your MP's quote that the animals are forced to perform "unnatural tricks through fear", if they actually went to see for themselves they would see that there is no unnatural behaviour or "tricks" involved and that the animals are treat trained and rewarded. They are not forced to do anything and are certainly not afraid. I also would like to know how you can call the likes of camels and llamas "wild" when so many people keep them (and alpacas) in this country and they are classed as domesticated in almost every other country in the world. Maybe you should consider the reclassification of these animals? If this bill must be brought in, then it could at least be passed with a condition that the existing animals could continue to perform and travel under licence, but no more licences issued so that more animals could not be added by these or any other circus'. That way it could come to a natural end without separating the existing animals from the people they know and love. It's all very well saying that the circus can continue to own them, but how will the poor animals feel when the people they love disappear for 9 months at a time? It's like you having a dog that you've had since a puppy (or maybe even hand reared), who goes everywhere with you. Suddenly you walk out of the door without taking him, he doesn't know why he can't go with you anymore? You don't return for 9 months. Do you think that is good for the animal? There might be someone there to look after them but it's not their family that they're used to being with, and not the lifestyle that they are used to. These animals are used to being with their owners and having lots of stimulation and human contact, they will not thrive left in a field or in a sanctuary.

Please ask the members to see for themselves, if they don't do that then they do not have all the facts and are acting on hearsay from many animal rights organisations who are obviously very biased and who's methods are sometimes very questionable. I also reiterate my request that every single household in the country should be consulted via a letter or leaflet etc. so that everyone can have a fair say.

I would like to ask you to please reconsider passing this bill. The animals involved are not props or commodities but pets and part of the family. You are all working on preconceived ideas of what their life must be like, or hearsay, without having actually met the animals or their owners and handlers. You all talk about "ethics" but have any of you thought about what the animals themselves might want or choose?. They have an excellent life full of enrichment with people who have reared them since birth. You might think you are doing a good thing, but in reality you will be destroying those animals lives. They will pine for their owners, and after being used to constant daily contact with them this could cause a lot of stress and psychological damage. As well as being parted from the people they know, love and trust, they are used to having new pastures to explore and graze in on a regular basis - how can they be expected to adjust to being left in one field for the rest of their lives? It doesn't matter if it's a zoo, a sanctuary or a wildlife park - it is still a totally alien lifestyle to them. They would be getting less enrichment and stimulation and as well as pining and being stressed they could also become bored and depressed. It is a fact that animals in these circumstances tend to die a lot sooner than expected. In total contrast, animals that travel with the circus have longer than average lifespans. Please find it in your hearts to reconsider, even if it's only to add an amendment that the existing animals could continue to travel and remain with their circus families enjoying the life that they know and love. My heart is breaking at the thought of what these poor animals will suffer otherwise. The groups you have consulted say they speak for the animals and are their voice. They obviously don't speak for these animals, as the animals are happy, healthy and content now but they will be condemned to a lifetime of separation, boredom and misery if this goes ahead - as well as a probably shortened lifespan. There are so many animals in this world that do need help but these are not some of them. Please don't destroy their lives through misguided intentions and false information.

May 2019


Prepared 22nd May 2019