Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill Debate

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Department: HM Treasury
Legislation Page: Wild Animals in Circuses Act 2019

Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
(Programme motion: House of Commons)
David Rutley Excerpts
Tuesday 7th May 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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HM Treasury

Second Reading

David Rutley Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (David Rutley) - Hansard

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

This Bill delivers an important part of the work that the Government are doing to protect animals, both in the wild and in captivity, and to ensure that we as a country maintain our world leadership on safeguarding and respecting animals. This important Bill seeks to bring to an end outdated practices that have no place in modern society and delivers a long held Government commitment. It addresses the specific concerns of the public and Parliament about the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and seeks to bring that activity to an end. That requires primary legislation, for reasons that I will explain in a moment.

The Government published the draft Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny in April 2013. I pay tribute to Members who have taken the Bill forward as private Members’ Bills. First, the hon. Member for Poplar and Limehouse (Jim Fitzpatrick), who is in his place, picked up the Bill at the end of the 2010 to 2015 Parliament. Then my hon. Friends the Members for Colchester (Will Quince) and for Torbay (Kevin Foster) attempted to take the Bill forward during the last Parliament. Last, but by no means least, during this Session my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Trudy Harrison), who is in her place, really sought to give the Bill wings. Sadly, those attempts were not successful, for reasons that I will not go into here, but I thank those Members for their efforts.

I also pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mark Pritchard), who, I am pleased to see, is also in his place. His Backbench Business debate back in June 2011 put this issue firmly on the Government’s agenda and made it clear what Parliament was specifically concerned about.

Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green) - Parliament Live - Hansard

The Minister is setting out the history—the long time it has taken to get the Bill to this point. Although I very much welcome the fact that it is here, it is very overdue. Will he confirm that the Bill will come into force in January 2020? Will he also confirm that, if by some strange happenstance it gets delayed by Brexit or anything else—even if the Bill has not finished its progress through Parliament—the Government will not issue any more licences after January 2020?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

We will do everything we can. We are completely committed to making sure that the legislation gets into place. The hon. Lady has been keen to see it through, and we will do that. We are absolutely committed to delivering on this legislation.

John Spellar Portrait John Spellar (Warley) (Lab) - Hansard

This has been a pretty sorry story of delay, but I welcome the fact that the Bill is now here, given the lack of legislative business. Will the Minister say when the Government will bring forward legislation on increasing the penalties available to the courts for those guilty of animal cruelty? That is another issue that has been waiting a long time. It urgently needs to be resolved.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I completely agree. We are working hard to find the right vehicle to take that important legislation forward. I am just delighted that today we are taking forward action on wild animals and circuses.

Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) (Con) - Hansard

I support this Bill, but will the Minister confirm that nothing in it should cause any animal affected by it to be put down?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I completely understand my right hon. Friend’s concern. We have had conversations with circus owners, who certainly have no such intentions whatever—they regard these animals as part of their families. The issue is that the practice is outdated and society has moved on; it is not appropriate for such performances and exhibitions to take place. As I will explain later, circus owners will still be able to own the animals and look after them, but they will have to seek licences and will be inspected.

Many Members on both sides of the House have spoken passionately about this issue. Time prevents me from naming them all, but we recognise the concerns and I am pleased that we are able to take action today. I am delighted that there is strong support across the Chamber today. I will, of course, talk about the important work that took place under the previous Labour Government. I am delighted at the degree of co-operation. Of course we understand that there will be challenges, but we are grateful for the co-operation, which will ensure smooth passage for this legislation.

Kerry McCarthy Portrait Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

We were promised that the Bill would come in after the Backbench Business debate secured by the hon. Member for The Wrekin (Mark Pritchard). One of the reasons subsequently given by the Government for not introducing it was that the European Union would not allow us to—there is a stream of responses to my written parliamentary questions on the subject that told me that. However, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Scotland, Slovenia and Slovakia have all introduced a ban. Will the Minister put on the record that that line that we were given—that we could not introduce a ban because we were in the EU—was just not true?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I was not around at the time of whatever was said. I have been involved for eight months and we have been working closely together on a wide range of activities. We are trying to get this legislation through at pace. I pay tribute to the work that has gone on in Scotland since we declared that there would be a commitment to introducing this ban. The ban has been introduced there and we are pleased that there has been support for what we are doing today from the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Dr Cameron) and the Scottish Government.

Mark Pritchard Portrait Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con) - Hansard

The Minister was not around at the time and cannot be held responsible, but the hon. Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy) is absolutely right. France is another member of the European Union that has introduced a ban.

I welcome the Second Reading of this Bill in the House of Commons. It has taken some time, perhaps longer than it should have, but I am grateful that the Government have brought it forward. I have two quick questions. Will the Minister give a commitment that the timetable for introduction will not slip beyond next January? Secondly, does he believe the Bill is tough enough on enforcement?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard

I thank my hon. Friend for those questions and again acknowledge his work and tireless commitment on this issue. I remember him discussing the issue at length and in depth.

No, the timetable will not slip. Obviously, what was said when we made the commitment to bring the legislation into place was that there would be interim regulations involving licences. There was a sunset clause on those, and we will get the legislation in place so that there is no gap. There have been questions about that matter previously.

On enforcement, this Bill, as I will explain, is based primarily on ethics rather than welfare concerns. It does not have some of the enforcement powers that some people have talked about. However, it is important to note that other legislation is in place—not least the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and legislation from 1976—that will enable us to have those enforcement powers. This Bill complements that: the legislation works together to provide the enforcement mechanisms that my hon. Friend is seeking.

When we first announced in March 2012 that we would introduce a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, the Government were clear that primary legislation would take time. As I have said, we introduced interim measures—welfare licensing regulations. Those regulations will expire in 2020 and the Government have announced that they will not be renewed. That is why this Bill is being introduced: so that we can deliver with confidence on that commitment.

It might help if I provide a bit of historical context, to put the timeframes into perspective.

Dr David Drew (Stroud) (Lab/Co-op) Hansard

That will have to be long!

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:39 p.m.

Given all the statutory instruments of recent months, I am used to this sort of barracking and harassment from the other side, but I take it in the intended spirit.

The subject matter itself has long been a source of debate: the issue was considered by a parliamentary Select Committee between 1921 and 1922, which resulted in the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925. No Members in the House today were around at that time. As hon. Members may be aware, this Government replaced that Act when we introduced the Animal Welfare (Licensing and Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Since the 1925 Act was introduced, debates and motions in Parliament on animals in circuses have been commonplace.

As I said, it is important to recognise the work undertaken by the previous Labour Government. During the debates on the Animal Welfare Bill in 2006, the then Government agreed to look at the issue in order to bring forward a ban on the use of certain wild species in travelling circuses using the delegated powers provided in the Animal Welfare Act 2006, subject to there being sufficient scientific evidence to support it. To assess that evidence, the academic lawyer Mike Radford was appointed to chair a circus working group. His report, the Radford report, concluded that there were no welfare concerns over and above animals kept in other captive environments. Therefore, any attempt to take forward a ban on welfare grounds under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 would fail the test of proportionality and primary legislation would be needed.

Following the report, a feasibility study was undertaken during 2008 to assess whether regulations were appropriate. The study concluded that a regulatory regime could be devised and implemented. The previous Government issued a public consultation in December 2009 on how best to protect wild animals in travelling circuses and about 95% of respondents supported a complete ban.

Alex Sobel Portrait Alex Sobel (Leeds North West) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:41 p.m.

Is the Minister aware that the British Veterinary Association concluded:

“The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus—in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour”?

Does he agree with the evidence brought forward by the BVA?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:41 p.m.

We have worked closely with the BVA and I am really pleased that it has welcomed the steps we have taken. I agree that it has put forward some compelling arguments and I am pleased it recognises we are able to deliver on them. Again, we are seeing collaborative working relationships across Parliament with the welfare groups to get the proposed legislation through. It has taken time—more time than any of us would have liked—but it is now moving forward.

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab) Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:42 p.m.

The Minister said that 95% of people responded to the previous Government’s consultation. What does that mean in numbers, so the House can have a good idea of how many people were actually consulted?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:42 p.m.

That is a fantastic question—a terrific question—which I know the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey), with her encyclopaedic knowledge, will be answering in a little time. It will be worth waiting for. I know the hon. Gentleman asked me the question, but we will get that answer in just a little while. Joking aside, the important point was that 95% of respondents wanted the ban. That is the key point. Society has moved on and this is not appropriate activity.

In terms of the next milestone, I have already talked about the important Backbench Business that was put through unopposed by my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin, calling on the Government to introduce a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. In response, in March 2012, the Government announced they would pursue a ban, with licensing regulations introduced as a temporary measure. In April 2013, the Government published the draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny, leading to subsequent attempts, by the hon. Members mentioned in my introduction, to introduce the Bill via the private Members’ Bill route.

There are now only 19 wild animals left in travelling circuses. That is a low number, but the BVA captured the importance of the Bill when it said that a ban is emblematic of how we should be treating animals in the modern world.

Neil Parish Portrait Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con) - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:44 p.m.

There are two circuses, Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus, with the 19 animals. Is the Minister going to ensure the welfare of those animals is secured after they have been released from performing? They are not wild animals or domestic animals. They will need to be well looked after.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:44 p.m.

As defined in this legislation, they are wild animals, but I understand my hon. Friend’s point. As I tried to make clear earlier, their welfare absolutely will be looked after. We have had assurances of that from the circuses themselves and we have legislation in place that will ensure that there are ongoing inspections to make sure that their welfare is looked after. I hope that reassures my hon. Friend. I recognise his interest as the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and the important work the Committee has done on this issue and across a wide range of other activities on animal welfare. I am grateful to him for that.

Mark Pritchard Portrait Mark Pritchard - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:46 p.m.

I thank the Minister for giving way; he is being very generous. A lot of people across the House have supported me over the years, whether the Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats and so on. This is a tribute to them all. He mentions the Animal Welfare Bill under the previous Labour Government. I remember working with colleagues across the House on that. Is it not time for the Government, however grateful I am for the introduction of this Bill, to introduce a comprehensive animal welfare Bill of their own, which incorporates so many other private Members’ Bills that have been discussed in this House over the past few years, rather than take a piecemeal approach? Forgive me, Madam Deputy Speaker, for plugging my own private Members’ Bills, but there are three I could name: the Protection of Common Birds Bill, the Sale of Primates as Pets (Prohibition) Bill and the Sale of Endangered Animals on the Internet Bill. Those are just three Bills from one lowly Conservative Back Bencher. Many other important animal welfare thoughts, ideas, policies and Bills have been introduced over the past few years. Will the Government seriously consider a comprehensive Bill to modernise animal welfare once and for all?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:47 p.m.

That is another important question. There is a strong rationale to do that. We are looking at other proposed legislation going forward. The environment Bill will be absolutely pivotal in the next Session, but as my hon. Friend knows we have other legislation we need to get through. We all know, including those on the Opposition Benches, that there is a lot of other proposed legislation that will take up time and make matters more complicated. However, he makes a good point and it is vital we seek ways to get other Bills in place, not least on animal sentience. We have already had a question about sentencing and increased sentences. I share the commitment to seeing that proposed legislation through. We just need to find the right vehicle to do that.

There are key arguments about necessity. It is not necessary to use wild animals to operate a circus or to enjoy the circus experience. The public can still, as the vast majority already do, attend travelling circuses that do not use wild animal acts. They can also readily see wild animals in zoos and safari parks. We need to consider the intrinsic value of wild animals. Modern society recognises the intrinsic value of these animals. This concerns the respect of animals and their natural behaviour. Wild animals in a circus are trained for our entertainment and amusement. That sends the wrong message to audiences about the intrinsic value of those animals. We should appreciate wild animals behaving naturally, not in a comic or superficial setting. We need to look at the educational conservation benefits. The practice of using wild animals in circus performances, unlike in zoos, does nothing to further our understanding or the conservation of wild animals. There is no greater benefit to humans or animals that justifies the use of wild animals in circuses. In short, it is an outdated practice that is no longer necessary to operate a circus or to enjoy the circus experience, and it is demeaning to the wild animals involved.

In 1990, 29 years ago, there were over 250 wild animals across some 20 circuses, including tigers, lions, elephants and bears. By the time of the 2009 DEFRA consultation, it was estimated that there were only four circuses in the UK using some 47 wild animals. Today, there are only 19 wild animals left and only two travelling circuses. Attitudes and audience appetites have changed, but if we fail to bring in a ban by the time our licensing regulations expire in January, there is a risk that we could see more travelling circuses using wild animals such as lions and tigers again. It is crucial that we do not let that happen.

Let me turn to the Bill itself. Clause 1, the main clause, will make it an offence for a circus operator to use a wild animal in a travelling circus in England. The offence applies only to operators of travelling circuses in the circus environment; our view is that most people are employees or hired acts who are firmly in the control of the operator, so it should be the operator who carries responsibility for any illegal use of a wild animal.

Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas - Parliament Live - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:54 p.m.

Will the Minister look again at the need to define “travelling circus” in the Bill? A concern exists that without such a definition, the law will be unclear on circuses that travel without actually showing the animals. Many animal welfare organisations think that it would be much clearer if the Bill included a definition of “travelling circus”.

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:50 p.m.

I understand that some residual concerns have been raised by welfare groups, but I assure the hon. Lady that the definition set out will be adequate. In fact, the Scottish Government arrived at a very similar definition.

Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:50 p.m.

The Minister says that he believes that the definition is adequate, but surely he will concede that such matters can be explored and tested in Committee. If it can be demonstrated that the definition is not as clear as it ought to be, will the Government be open to amending the Bill before Third Reading?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:52 p.m.

Of course, in Committee, we will have the chance to review these things in more detail. There has been ongoing discussion with Opposition Front Benchers about the Committee process.

Clause 1(2) defines “use” as either performance or exhibition. It should cover circumstances in which wild animals are put on display at the circus, usually just adjacent to the big top, as well as performances in the ring. The penalty for a circus operator who is found guilty of using a wild animal in a travelling circus is an unlimited fine; the Animal Welfare Act 2006 also provides powers to seize animals where there are grounds to do so.

Subsection (4) provides for corporate liability where the circus operator is a corporate entity. Subsection (5) sets out definitions of terms used throughout clause 1, including “wild animal”—a term that is well understood and has already been defined in other legislation such as the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 and the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012. We have largely replicated that approach in the Bill:

“‘wild animal’ means an animal of a kind which is not commonly domesticated in Great Britain”.

To meet that definition, an animal does not have to have been born in the wild. Most of the wild animals currently in English circuses have been bred in captivity, usually from several generations of circus animals, but that does not make them domesticated. Domestication is a process that happens over many generations—hundreds of years, if not thousands.

To return to a question asked by the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas), clause 1 does not define “travelling circus”. The term is left to take its common meaning, which we believe that the courts will have no trouble in interpreting. Indeed, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s July 2013 report on the draft Bill agreed that we did not need to include a definition of the term; nor was a circus itself defined by the Scottish Parliament in the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Act 2018. Defining a circus in a specific way might be unhelpful, because it could provide parameters for an operator to seek to evade the ban.

The common meaning of “circus” is

“a company of performers who put on shows with diverse entertainments, often of a daring or exciting nature, that may include, for example, acts such as…acrobats, trapeze acts…tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists”.

The role of wild animals in a circus, when they are used, is to provide an entertaining spectacle for our amusement, often as a way to demonstrate the skill or dominance of the trainer. That is outdated, and it is what we are legislating against.

Clause 2 relates to inspections, for which powers are set out in the schedule. Inspectors will be appointed by the Secretary of State, although we envisage that the numbers required will be small. We already have a small panel of inspectors to enforce the interim wild animals in circuses licensing regime, all of whom are drawn from the Department’s list of zoo licensing veterinary inspectors and are highly experienced in the handling and treatment of wild animals in captivity. Inspectors will be appointed on a case-by-case basis by the Animal and Plant Health Agency to investigate evidence of any offence.

Clause 3 will make a minor consequential amendment to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, which requires persons who wish to keep dangerous wild animals to be licensed. Those who keep dangerous wild animals in a circus are currently exempted from that requirement, but once the new ban comes into force, there should no longer be any vertebrate dangerous wild animals in travelling circuses. We have therefore taken a belt-and-braces approach to make it clear that using dangerous wild vertebrate animals in a travelling circus is not allowed.

The Scottish Government, who have already introduced a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland, have asked us to extend to Scotland our amendment to the 1976 Act, and we are pleased to enable that request. Once again, we are grateful for the Scottish Government’s work on this and many other aspects of animal welfare. The Welsh Government are considering their own ban; we have also discussed the matter with the Northern Ireland Government, who are not in a position to consider a ban at this point.

Clause 4 provides for the Bill to come into force on 20 January 2020, the day after the interim circus licensing regulations expire. I hope that I have already reassured hon. Members that it will come into effect in a timely way.

It is worth clarifying what the Bill will not do. First, I make it absolutely clear that we are not proposing to ban circuses, only their use of wild animals. Plenty of travelling circuses do not use wild animals, or indeed any animals, in their acts; the Bill will have no impact on them. Nor will it stop circus operators from owning wild animals. If circuses wish to continue to own them after the ban is enacted, they will be subject to the appropriate licensing requirements, for example under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 or under the Department’s 2018 licensing regulations for animals hired out for TV or film productions. If a circus does not intend to continue using wild animals in other work, we expect to see retirement plans being deployed under the interim licensing regulations.

Nor will the ban lead to the banning of other animal exhibits such as falconry displays, zoos, farm parks or the sort of displays that we might see at summer fêtes in our constituencies. Even though such activities may move animal displays from one place to another, they do not fall within the ordinary interpretation of a circus and will therefore not meet the definition of a travelling circus. We do not wish to ban them, because we acknowledge that they have a role to play in education. The important distinction is that circuses move from A to B to C, whereas other displays may go to one place, come back to a home base and go to another place some time later—they are a very different activity.

Lastly, the Bill will apply only to wild animals. I know from parliamentary debates and from my Department’s postbag that the overriding concern is about the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, which is precisely what the Bill will address. Other domestic animals such as horses and dogs will continue to be subject to inspections under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 to ensure that the highest welfare standards are met.

Continuing to allow wild animals to perform often absurd and unnecessary behaviours for our amusement in travelling circuses goes against the Government’s efforts towards—and the House’s interests in—raising awareness and respect for animals. People can continue to enjoy the experience of going to a circus, but we must move on from the age when wild animals were paraded around as a spectacle. We want people to see animals in a more dignified and natural setting. We cannot make that message clearer than by introducing this Bill to ban that practice. I commend it to the House.

Luke Pollard Portrait Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
7 May 2019, 6:59 p.m.

Circuses are no place for wild animals. That view is shared not only by animal welfare organisations and animal lovers, but by the vast majority of people in our country and—as I am very glad to see—by hon. Members on both sides of the House. As the Minister said, banning wild animals in circuses is a policy that began under Labour before we lost power in 2010, so we support the Bill. It is long overdue, but we are pleased that, having walked the tightrope of parliamentary time so many times, it has now arrived. I thank Members on both sides of the House for their advocacy for wild animals. This will ensure that we can have the greatest shows: circuses that do not have wild animals in them.

In welcoming the Bill, I want to echo some of the points that have been made by hon. Members. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Warley (John Spellar), I ask the Minister where the Bill is to increase the penalties for animal cruelty. The Bill before us is welcome, but it is not the only Bill that we need in relation to animal welfare. That is one of the promises that remains missing.

The Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012 will expire in 2020. Now is the time to address this issue once and for all. Forcing wild animals to perform in circuses is one of the most archaic and inhumane forms of animal exploitation. We should be clear that we no longer want it to take place in Britain.

According to the latest figures from September, 19 wild animals are owned by the two remaining circuses that use wild animals in their performances. I am very pleased that the six reindeer, four zebras, three camels, three racoons, one fox—which is not for hunting—one macaw and one zebu, which of course is a type of humped cattle, will soon be free from their lives in circuses and able to enjoy the rest of their lives without being put on display for our entertainment.

I have received a few questions about the Bill since I mentioned I would be speaking in the debate. I would be grateful if the Minister could set out whether birds are included in the Bill, as a few people want to know. I believe that they are, but it would be helpful if the Minister made it clear for the record in her concluding remarks.

The problem with the current regulations is that if the licensing conditions are met, there is nothing to stop more animals and different types of animals returning to circuses unless further action is taken.

The review of the science on the welfare of wild animals in travelling circuses by Professor Stephen Harris, which was commissioned by the Welsh Government and published in April 2016, provides strong evidence that wild animals in travelling circuses not only suffer poor welfare, but do not have a “life worth living”. Every circus animal matters. That is why we should have no wild animals in our circuses anymore. The report built on existing evidence that shows that the welfare needs of non-domesticated wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus—a conclusion with which the Opposition agree.

I am sure that all hon. Members are animal lovers. I am sure we can all agree that animals need a suitable environment to live in, an appropriate diet, the ability to express normal patterns of behaviour and to be housed properly, whether that is with or without other animals, and that they should not suffer. Wild animals that are used in travelling circuses are carted from one venue to another, sometimes in cramped cages and barren trailers, and are taught to perform tricks, often through fear of punishment. In many cases, animals are not suited to the travelling life, where they are denied their most basic needs. When animals suffer, we all suffer.

Labour planned to ban the use of wild animals in circuses before the 2010 general election. The draft legislation had been prepared and consulted on, with a substantial majority of respondents in favour of a ban. While we are pleased that there is finally parliamentary time for this crucial and urgent Bill, it is disappointing that we have been overtaken by no fewer than 30 countries worldwide in banning the use of wild animals in circuses. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy) for setting out just how many EU member states have banned the use of wild animals in circuses and showing just how paltry was the Government’s line that our EU membership prevented it.