Wild Animals in Circuses (No.2) Bill

Written evidence submitted by Esme Willis (WAC06)

Dear Sir/Madam

ref: Proposed ban on Wild Animals in Circus (no.2) Bill

Having visited Circus Mondao many times seeing their performance, I am in disbelief that this ban is even being considered.

My first point is the definition of a wild animal according to DEFRA

A member of a species not normally domesticated in Great Britain

The wild animals that have been defined as wild under the current DEFRA licence, Circus Mondao have a zebra, two camels and two reindeer. NB. the camels are the domesticated Bactrian breed and not to be confused with the wild Bactrian.

All animals can be seen grazing fresh grass every week, with clean water and plenty of food. They are happy & healthy and have been licensed and checked for welfare. 

None of the above animals in Circus Mondao can be classed as wild as they have been bred domestically. If you put these animals ‘back into the wild’ they would not survive because they have never lived in the wild.

So why the legislation, just for circuses?

There are many other ways we are entertained by animals and this is not being included in the legislation.

Mobile Petting zoos

Why are these not being included in the bill?

These zoos have wild animals and species not native to the UK who travel to peoples homes for entertainment. These must be included in the ban.

A raccoon on Britain’s Got talent TV show

A wild animal (not native to the UK) that has been tamed and made to perform for our entertainment - the legislation needs to include entertainment and talent shows not just circuses.


I would not categorise a camel as being a wild animal. Although camels might seem exotic they have actually been domesticated for nearly as long as horses, the dromedary has been used for transportation for over 3000 years.

If this legislation bans camels from appearing in the circus ring it needs to to include camel racing, camel rides, TV, stage productions, photo shoots etc. This is people paying to be entertained by an animal and in some cases gaining a profit from.


Are we not paying to be entertained by these animals? We pay an entrance fee, we drive along in our cars through the monkey enclosure for example, to have monkeys climb over our cars, break a windscreen wiper and this entertains us… 

We walk past the lion enclosure to take a selfie next to a lion and this entertains us

Wild animals in zoos are still caged and domesticated, they are not free to roam wherever they want and are brought their food so are domesticated and dependent on people.

Dog shows

Dogs paraded around a ring, made to stand and perform over obstacles. They are trained and are performing for people’s living and entertainment

Falconry Displays

These birds of prey are displayed for our entertainment, education and trained in captivity. There are some falconry’s offering ‘Bird of Prey’ experiences, birthday parties, displays for fetes, country fairs etc. They are providing entertainment and travel with the birds.

If this ban does come in, where will these animals go? They may have to be put down as you wouldn’t leave your cat or dog at home whilst you were on holiday? All their needs are catered for at the circus.

Or they get to go in a Zoo, animals let to live in a restricted area for us to come and peer at them, not in their natural habitat, or even go to an animal petting zoo where they too get transported from place to place for entertainment just under a different ‘umbrella’ that is considered ethical.

A few people seem to have decided wild animals in circuses as being unethical and you are creating a ban on a small percentage of people ’s opinions who are shouting the loudest. 

Organisations are targeting and singling out 2 circuses but not covering all wild animals, living and being used by people to entertain and profit from. The circus is being victimised.

If the general public did not think it was ethical, they would not come to the circus, it is their choice.

Are the current regulations and licensing not enough, the DEFRA inspections, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 ?

If you must legislate then please consider what is entertainment? 

· Is a wild animal in question, actually living in its natural habitat in the UK?
If not then it’s
domesticated and needs come under the same legislation as a domesticated animal eg a dog, horse, cat

· Does the legislation cover all scenarios of wild animals ‘performing’ for our entertainment.

· Consider how all animals live in the UK and are interacted with by humans.

I urge you to think before you legislate against this tradition, we will be losing this history and way of life forever. 

Yours Faithfully

Esme WIllis

May 2019


Prepared 23rd May 2019