Animal Cruelty and Circuses
Thank you for writing to me regarding your concerns on animal welfare and their treatment in circuses. You raised important points that highlight key issues that continue to challenge the UK, as well as the international community.
I would like to start by saying that I am a dedicated vegetarian and advocate for animal welfare both in my constituency and in Parliament. It is very important to me that laws reflect the best interests of animal health and wellbeing.
As the Shadow Minister for Farming and Rural Affairs, I work closely with the British Veterinary Association, RSPCA and other animal welfare and rights groups. You emphasised numerous, well-researched points that indicate how much more work needs to be done to protect animal welfare, particularly in circuses.
In 2009, the Labour Government consulted the public “on options to safeguard the welfare of wild animals in circuses. 94.5% of respondents considered a ban would be the best option”. It was scheduled in May 2017, that a second reading would take place of the Wild Animals in Circuses (Prohibition) Bill, which set out laws to ban the use of any wild animal in circuses across England. Unfortunately, because of the snap election, the Bill was dropped, just 9 days before the reading.
I will enquire about the Bill and will ask questions in Parliament about how the Government can address the cruelty and poor welfare of the animals. This issue is very important to me.
It is heartening to see you and your classmates writing about issues that matter to you and taking an interest in the wellbeing of our planet, it certainly gives me hope for the future. I will always look for opportunities to defend animal rights in Parliament.