Wild Animals in Circuses (No.2) Bill

Written evidence submitted by Zoe Nelson (WAC09)

Opposition to ‘wild’ animal ban

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to tell you I am against a ban on ‘wild’ animals in circuses and offer some thoughts on the subject. It is extremely hard for me to write this as I am disabled with multiple sclerosis and am suffering with massive cognitive problems. 

I am not directly involved with the circus but have been involved in the training and displaying of a variety of animals.

Animals in circuses are not wild, they are born in captivity and are loved and trained by knowledgeable, loving keepers. Elephants are thought to have been domesticated since 2000BC, camels for over 3000 years and llamas since 4000BC. Horses were domesticated around 6000 years ago. I fail to see how you can draw a distinction between animals that have been in human care, performing and working with us for thousands of years. It would be unfair and detrimental to animals to ban horse shows, dog shows, racing and agricultural shows but these are no different to circuses, the animals are travelled round regularly to perform in front of people.

Animal training is a huge problem for the animal rights brigade. They make claims that animals are beaten or starved into submission but this is simply not the case in the U.K. and Europe in this day and age. Circus animals are trained in the same way as pet dogs are in homes, by the use of positive reinforcement. If you are in any doubt I recommend you visit each circus and see for yourself, admire the relationship between keepers/trainers and their animals and hopefully get a different perspective. 

This debate over banning animals in circus has been going on for a long time. There is no welfare issue with the majority of circuses and they are subject to regular, stringent checks. Animals are not encouraged to perform any activity which is not natural to their species.

There is no reason that people shouldn’t partner with animals to make a living provided the animals’ welfare is paramount. To ban ‘wild’ animals in circus would be grossly unjust and seems like racism against circus people, implying that they are cruel to their animals unless the plan is to ban ALL animal shows and events.

I hope this makes a difference. 


Zoe Nelson 

May 2019


Prepared 23rd May 2019