There have been 10 exchanges between David Rutley and Luke Pollard
|1||Wed 24th July 2019||
Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 3) Bill [Lords]
|5 interactions (1,599 words)|
|2||Tue 23rd July 2019||
Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (First sitting)
|2 interactions (331 words)|
|3||Tue 4th June 2019||
Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill
|7 interactions (2,596 words)|
|4||Wed 22nd May 2019||
Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill (Third sitting)
|39 interactions (6,796 words)|
|5||Tue 21st May 2019||
Wild Animals in Circuses (No.2) Bill (First sitting)
|2 interactions (670 words)|
|6||Tue 7th May 2019||
Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill
|2 interactions (1,968 words)|
|7||Mon 15th October 2018||
|2 interactions (2,655 words)|
|8||Tue 19th June 2018||
Ivory Bill (Sixth sitting)
|2 interactions (276 words)|
|9||Tue 12th June 2018||
Ivory Bill (Second sitting)
|2 interactions (326 words)|
|10||Tue 12th June 2018||
Ivory Bill (First sitting)
|2 interactions (1,055 words)|
I am pleased to speak in support of this Bill. I will start by restating what my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Dr Drew) said on Second Reading—that Ministers can rest at ease, because the Opposition have no intention of dividing the House on this issue. Indeed, this is a Bill that we support and encourage the Government to get on with as fast as they can.
The Bill has been a long time in the making, with previous Bills started by the hon. Members for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith), the hon. Member for Bridgwater and West Somerset (Mr Liddell-Grainger) and Lord True. We are pleased that we have managed to come so far on this occasion, and we hope the Bill will pass all its remaining stages in the Commons today.
It is important to remember that the Bill goes back to the difficulties that Kew Gardens faced in 2014, when there was a potential funding crisis. The then director saw that Kew could lose up to 150 research staff, which would have been a tragedy given its international importance—not just for public access, but as the world’s most important research institution in the areas that Kew covers. The Select Committee on Science and Technology noted at the time that Kew had difficulties transitioning away from its pure state funding model to one where it is more self-sufficient.
Kew Gardens is not only an incredible tourist attraction but an international centre of expertise and something that this country should be very proud of. I remember my last visit to Kew Gardens; I was in awe of the natural diversity that thrives in that corner of green in this metropolis of hustle, bustle, concrete and steel. The seeds and samples at Kew are unique and preserve for the future a vital resource for scientists working on tracking biodiversity. The world’s largest herbaceous borders at Kew are also pretty incredible. I can only imagine the weeding and pruning that is required to keep Kew looking so inspirational and attractive. I sometimes struggle with my little garden in Plymouth, but this is on a very different scale indeed.
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There is very little to add to the remarks I made earlier, so as I want the House to come to the next debate as soon as possible, I shall briefly say that I am grateful to the Minister for his support for the ongoing digitalisation of the herbarium records and the recognition that the income derived from the sale of these leases will go to support Kew’s ongoing work. We need more, bolder and swifter action to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, and Kew Gardens plays an important part in Britain’s soft-power and hard-power interventions in doing that, and I wish it the best of luck in selling these leases so we can make sure that work continues.
Q Inspector O’Hara, when the Bill is passed into law—hopefully very soon—how will it be implemented, and what about the deterrent effect that was spoken about earlier? From an outsider’s perspective, the idea that the cruelty sentencing could increase to such a large degree should have an effect. From your point of view, as someone who works in this area, how best will that be communicated to individuals who would consider abusing an animal? What is the best way of communicating the increased sentence to the general public and to those individuals, so that it has a deterrent effect?
Inspector O'Hara: Typically in this topic, media have been led and have focused on case results and outcomes, on the back of some successful prosecutions with high sentencing. I think there is a key prevention message that can go out before the legislation comes through. There is one thing that worries me slightly: I have not known many people charged with animal welfare offences to enter a guilty plea at the first hearing. I can see that there will be quite a lot of cases, particularly if sections 4 to 8 are charged, where somebody will elect to go to Crown court, so it will be some considerable time down the road before we get those sentences coming through, but you might find that the cases that go up to the Crown court get no more severe a penalty than they would have got in a magistrates court. We have to manage our expectations of what that will bring.
In my other area of work, dangerous dogs, following the legislation changes in 2014 and the 14-year penalty that came in for a dog dangerously out of control causing death, we have not seen significant sentencing increases as a result of that legislation. While the current provisions are very good, and we very much support them and hope they will come in quickly, expectations in the court outcomes will need to be managed.
Will the Minister go into slightly more detail about where the guidance will land on that point? Will the police constable be one of the two people who can accompany an inspector, or will that be in addition to those two people, since there may be very good reasons why certain specialists are required for certain animals?
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I agree with my hon. Friend about the Government’s choice of definitions to include, or not to include, in the Bill. Indeed, in evidence, we heard stakeholders’ concerns about the missing definition of what a travelling circus looks like and broad concerns about what “wild animal” means.
Having heard the evidence yesterday, Members on both sides of the Committee will think it important to ensure that we can comprehensively ban the use of wild animals in circuses. That means making sure that the legal definition is correct. We need to ensure, whether in the Bill or in guidance, that performances outwith a typical circus tent, such as on a tour of arenas or activity involving touring from place to place and not returning to the home location, are within scope. Our suggested definition refers not to a place but to the group of people and animals making up a circus. That reflects more accurately how circuses work, as we heard yesterday.
The definition that we propose is in line with the guidance accompanying the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Act 2018. Scotland does not have regulations on licensing animals in entertainment. There is a chance that circuses in England could merely classify their animals as being used for entertainment. That might, for example, be the case for reindeers in the circus being used in Santa’s grottoes. A definition of travelling circuses will provide clarity on what is in or out of scope. Without a robust definition of a travelling circus, there is a risk that wild animals could be used with entertainment licences as part of performances that are travelling circuses in all but name.
In the evidence sessions yesterday, it was quite clear that the circus operators were keen to hold on to their animals and continue to use them in entertainment, perhaps under different licences, if only because of their close emotional bond with the animals that they currently own and use. There is overwhelming evidence that, if we do not define what a travelling circus is, that might create difficulties with enforcement, and there could be unintended consequences. As the hon. Member for Isle of Wight succinctly put it yesterday,
“unintended consequences are often the consequences of things that were not intended in the first place”.—[Official Report, Wild Animals in Circuses (No.2) Public Bill Committee, 21 May 2019; c. 29, Q77.]
The attempt to get a clear definition of a travelling circus is an attempt to prevent unintended consequences and to make the scope of the measure sufficiently tight to be legally enforceable.
I should be grateful if the Minister set out the options. Is primary legislation the right place for a clear definition of a travelling circus or would including it in guidance to be published by his Department carry similar weight and allow flexibility? I am interested in the end effect, and not necessarily the words on the page.
I am grateful that there is a willingness to engage with the people who gave evidence to the Committee yesterday. Will the Minister say whether other stakeholders, who were not able or not invited to attend the Committee yesterday, could also be involved in that process? Having a broad range of views could be helpful in doing the defining or at least creating guidance that would be as comprehensive as is required to do the job.
Based on the assurances that the Minister has given, I am happy to beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move amendment 5, in clause 1, page 2, line 4, leave out “commonly” and insert “normally”.
This amendment would align the definition of “wild animal” with that used in the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012 and the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.
The Opposition are moving the amendment to ensure legislative consistency across the different pieces of animal welfare legislation and to avoid creating any legislative conflicts or loopholes. The Bill defines a wild animal as one that is “not commonly domesticated”. Although protected animals in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 are defined as “commonly domesticated”, the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 defines a wild animal as one that is “not normally domesticated”. I am not normally one to go into the minutiae of the meaning of words, but I would be grateful if the Minister set out why the definition is not aligned with the 1981 Act and gave a clear reassurance that there is no legal interpretation in the difference between “commonly” and “normally”, to make sure that we are consistent across our legislation.
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I am not commonly or normally pedantic about such things, except for apostrophes. On this occasion, given the reassurance that the Minister has put on the record, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
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I beg to move amendment 2, in clause 4, page 2, line 14, leave out “on 20 January 2020” and insert
“on such day as the Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument appoint, and no later than 20 January 2020.”
This amendment would enable the Act to be brought into force earlier than 20 January 2020.
Since the introduction of the Bill, it has been clear— from the Second Reading debate, the evidence sessions and cross-party discussions—that hon. Members on both sides of the House support a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. The only question is when that should take place. The last Labour Government had hoped to introduce legislation around the time of the 2010 general election; sadly, that general election got in the way and we have had to wait nine years. I thank hon. Members on both sides of the House who have promoted private Members’ Bills during that time in an attempt to legislate sooner.
The Bill’s enforcement date is 20 January 2020. The amendment seeks to explore whether that date can be brought forward, so that we can ban the use of wild animals in circuses sooner. During yesterday’s evidence, the Born Free Foundation said that there was a risk of new species and new animals being brought into travelling circuses before January 2020.
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I entirely agree. If we as a country had taken this action in 2009 or 2010, as proposed by the last Labour Government, we would not be here and we would not be chasing the pack. In Britain we like to think of ourselves as a nation of animal lovers—indeed, I believe we are—but we have to put that into practice. Every animal matters. It has taken nearly a decade to introduce this ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, and it is being introduced at a time when the Government are light in legislation, including the missing fisheries and agriculture Bills, on which we really need to make progress. I agree with my hon. Friend that there is an opportunity to bring forward the Bill’s enforcement date.
During yesterday’s evidence we heard that many circus animals are not used for entertainment purposes over the winter season. Peter Jolly said that he stops touring around November. I understand from conversations with the Minister that there is concern that bringing forward the commencement date would overlap with the current licensing arrangements. I am sympathetic to that view. The Opposition want the ban to be brought into effect as soon possible, but we do not want taxpayers’ money being spent on compensation. There is a balance to be struck and I would be grateful if the Minister could set out his thoughts on that.
I would also be grateful if the Minister could set out a clear direction for those circus operators who may be thinking of introducing new animals before the commencement of the ban. I certainly do not want a final hurrah for circus animals: “Your last chance to see the raccoons, the zebu and the macaw!” Given that circuses operate in a commercial environment, there will always be that last PR sell.
We have an opportunity to send a message that no additional animals or new species should be introduced to any circus. As we heard from Born Free yesterday, a big cat exhibitor has applied for a new licence, but that flies in the spirit of what we are trying to do.
We want to ensure that the powers come into force as soon as possible. The period between now and 20 January 2020 is important because, every single day that goes by, those animals remain in travelling circuses and potentially in cruel and unusual environments that may damage their wellbeing. More people are encouraged to presume that it is normal for those wild animals to be in a circus and that we as a country accept that.
We have established from public polling, as set out in yesterday’s evidence and during the Minister’s comments on Second Reading about the weight of consultation responses received by the Department, that the general population do not support the use of animals in circuses and that it should be brought to an end as soon as is reasonably possible. I would be grateful if the Minister could set out whether there is an opportunity to bring forward the commencement date. Our amendment would not prevent 20 January 2020 from being the commencement date. It refers to bringing forward the powers
“on such day as the Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument appoint, and no later than 20 January 2020.”
The Government’s proposed date would remain in legislation but they would have an opportunity to bring it forward. Ministers need to retain that important tool, especially to prevent any circus operators from using the provision as a last hurrah for the use of wild animals in circuses, and from introducing new species and animals for a final show before the commencement date. I would be grateful if the Minister could respond to those concerns.
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I am trying to understand what the Minister said after his moment of inspiration. The implication is that there is a possibility that new animals and new species could be introduced, between now and the commencement date of the legislation on 20 January 2020. The only restriction in the licences is that these animals must be okay and subject to inspections; it does not prevent lions, tigers or elephants from being introduced in the final few months of wild animals being allowed in circuses. Is that what the Minister is saying?
I am concerned that, between now and the commencement date, new animals and new species could be brought into circuses. I do not agree with the Minister that the strength of public feeling was adequately understood by the circus operators yesterday. In fact, we heard oral and written evidence from Mrs Brown—I fundamentally disagree with her written evidence on several grounds—that she does not believe the strength of feeling in the DEFRA consultation, due to the size of the response compared with the UK population, even though that was a very good response for a DEFRA consultation.
I worry that there is a risk of a last hurrah for wild animals in circuses. The amendment does not change the 20 January 2020 date, but it provides the Minister with a stick to use should we be under the impression that additional wild animals and new species could be brought into circuses. Certainly, based on the strength of feeling among my constituents in Plymouth, if there is a risk of an elephant or big cat—a lion or tiger—or even an extra zebu or raccoon being brought into our circuses, they would want the Government to take steps to stop that happening. I am absolutely certain that, in the event that Government compensation is only paid for animals already there, plenty of the British public would be willing to chip in a fiver to prevent an elephant from being brought into our circuses for a last hurrah.
On that basis, I disagree with the Minister on this. Because of the risk of new animals being brought into circuses, the powers proposed in the amendment are important. The amendment would not substantively change the commencement date but would provide a stick to ensure that no new animals are brought in before that date. I will press the amendment to a vote.
Question put, That the amendment be made.
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The hon. Lady raises a good point, which is worth getting on the record. It was clear from the evidence session yesterday that circus owners have a genuine affection for their animals. Whether they should be able to use those animals for entertainment and, importantly, move them around the country in tight conditions is a different matter. I agree that circus owners have that affection, but I disagree with the way that affection is applied to their business model, if that makes sense.
We also heard that elements of cruelty accompany keeping animals in circuses. The new clause seeks to provide courts with an additional option to use in the event of a breach. Effectively, if a circus owner continued to exhibit wild animals as part of their entertainment, a court, on the basis of the regulations, the guidance and the Bill, would have the ability, on confirming a breach of the Bill, to apply a disqualification, should it see fit. That is important, because people who I have spoken to about this want to know that the animals are safe. If the law is breached and wild animals are used in a circus, and those animals continue to be owned and potentially used again by those operators, I imagine that most of my constituents would want those animals taken off those individuals.
The new clause includes the ability for the court effectively to decide to,
“instead of or in addition to dealing with that person in any other way, make an order disqualifying him under any one or more of subsections (2) to (4) for such period as it thinks fit.”
Disqualification under subsection (2) is from owning, keeping or participating in the keeping of wild animals. Effectively, the new clause provides a big stick for courts to ensure, if there is a breach, that there will be sufficient punishment, that those animals can be removed from that environment, and that there is a consequence for people who decide to keep wild animals and to continue to entertain people with them. Our new clause provides for not only the banning but the enforcement and the punishment.
Our purpose, in tabling the new clause, was to ask the Minister what potential punishments he envisages for a breach of Bill. I shall be grateful if he will set out what he anticipates will happen, in the event that a circus owner is in breach of the Bill.
On the basis of the Minister’s reassurances that there will be sufficient consequences for people who breach the law, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
New Clause 2
Powers of seizure: animals
“(1) Where an animal is seized under paragraph 7(k), an inspector or a constable may—
(a) remove it, or arrange for it to be removed, to a place of safety;
(b) care for it, or arrange for it to be cared for—
(i) on the premises where it was being kept when it was taken into possession, or
(ii) at such other place as he thinks fit.”—(Luke Pollard.)
This amendment would enable an animal which has been seized to be removed and cared for appropriately.
Brought up, and read the First time.
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Effectively, new clause 2 and amendment 3 continue the theme we explored in our debate on new clause 1 about the potential seizure of animals. They seek to ensure that there are powers to seize an animal in the event of continued breaches of the Bill. Fundamentally, the constituents I represent want to know that, in the event of such a breach, it will be possible to take the animals to a place of safety. That is really important to them and, I imagine, to many Members.
New clause 2 would introduce a power to seize an animal in the event of a breach and would confer that power on an inspector or, as the Minister pointed out to my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich, a constable. Amendment 3 would amend the schedule, which includes a curious form of words. It effectively states that an inspector may remove a number of things from any property where there is a wild animal, except the animal itself. Seizing evidence in support of a prosecution makes a lot of sense, and I imagine we all agree with that, but the schedule does not allow the removal of the animal itself. At what point does it become possible to rehome the animal in a safe and secure way? The Opposition are concerned that it is not clear that the Bill contains any powers to seize animals and ensure that they are rehomed satisfactorily.
New clause 2 and amendment 3 would set out clearly in the Bill that, in the event of breaches—in the event that wild animals are subjected to continued cruelty by being held in small cages in environments that are not suitable for their continued care—the animals can be seized and rehomed. From my understanding, that is not included in the Bill, and I would be grateful if the Minister set out under what circumstances he envisages any wild animal being seized and taken to a place of safety, from the commencement of the Act. I imagine that most people watching these deliberations would want to know that in the event of a breach those animals would be safe.
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Based on the reassurances that the Minister has given—that the welfare of the animals can be looked after—I am happy to withdraw the clause. However, I think there is a strong point about ensuring that none of the animals can be used should there be any breaches, and the welfare of those animals must be paramount. The reassurances that the Minister has given are sufficient to send a clear message on that point, so I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
New clause, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed, That the schedule be the schedule to the Bill.
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I am grateful for that point; I think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has got to the nub of what I am trying to get at with the Minister. I am trying to set out clearly what is included in the definition. We do not seek to qualify what a vehicle is; we stress “including” to make sure that definition includes those different movable structures and vehicles that could be home to any wild animals at any point. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has correctly identified my ruse: getting the Minister to put on record that all those different vehicles and movable structures would be included, to make sure that there can be no hiding place for any wild animal in the event of an inspection by an inspector or, as we heard earlier, a constable enforcing the requirements.
I thank the Minister for the reassurances he has given. I wanted to make sure that it was clearly set out on the record that any vehicles or potential locations where a wild animal could be stored were included in the definition, and I am grateful to the Minister for having set that out.
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On a point of order, Mrs Moon. I am attempting a nebulous point of order so as to put on record my thanks to the DEFRA officials for the work that they have done. I also thank the animal welfare organisations and all those people who have fought for the ban on wild animals in circuses. Every wild animal matters. I hope the Minister will continue to push in his efforts to get the Bill through as fast as possible, so that we can get the six reindeer, four zebras, three camels, three raccoons, one fox—not for hunting—one macaw and one zebu into a place of safety, where they can enjoy the rest of their lives in as close to their natural habitat as possible.
Q I wanted to go back to Angie’s written submission, which talks about the circus animals suffering. There is a general understanding that banning wild animals from circuses is a good thing, and we want to do that, but I have not yet heard—apart from in small bits—about the levels of suffering that we have in circuses at the moment. There is a sense that that has already been banned, so any animals that are already there must be well treated; otherwise, how would people pay money to go to a circus if they felt animals were not well treated? Can you give us a sense of your assessment of the welfare of the animals we have in circuses in the UK currently? What is the best way to assess the wellbeing of an animal in any type of captive environment, especially one where they are subject to so much touring and travelling?
Angie Greenaway: I think the British Veterinary Association covered it well when they talked about the inherent welfare issues of travelling and the fact that the accommodation needs to be small and collapsible and to be put on the back of the trucks. Big cats, even though they are not currently touring, will be in a series of small cages on the back of a lorry; that is their permanent accommodation. Sometimes they might have access to an exercise enclosure, but it will only be for x hours during the day. Elephants will be kept chained all night, at least, and possibly all day.
Other circus animals, such as camels and zebras, might be tethered and on their own. Obviously, they are herd species, so those are unnatural social groupings, which was touched upon earlier. The provision of the accommodation is not suitable, nor is the constant travel. The report by Professor Harris, commissioned by the Welsh Government, said that there is no evidence to show that these animals get used to the travel. Some people think it does not matter and say, “Oh, they’ve been touring for years.” That is still going to be a stressful experience that will compromise their welfare.
There are issues across the board, but also those that are species-specific, depending on how the animals are socially grouped, managed and trained. The welfare of the animals is compromised, and that has been accepted by veterinary bodies. The scientific evidence is overwhelming about the issues involved.
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.
At the moment, there is a strong case for reform and greater ambition. A self-regulatory system needs to carry the confidence of the public. I think that the BHA has heard the concerns voiced by Members on both sides of the House, including those who support its role, in wanting a more demanding and ambitious set of policies. We need to look at what will happen if that is not put in place. Organisations that do not keep pace with changing consumer demands on animal welfare and the changing social contract will see their business model effectively erode from the bottom up, as we have seen with SeaWorld in the tourism sector. If there continue to be more deaths, there is a real danger that the industry’s legitimacy could be threatened, as mentioned by Members on both sides of this debate.
Much more needs to be done on improving animal welfare. We should be clear that British horse-racing is a national success story, but we want the industry to work harder, faster and smarter to improve equine welfare and to set transparent targets that can be independently verified. The public have a right to know if activities only pay lip service to that or are genuine—ambitious plans or simply pedestrian. The industry has a lot of good stories to tell about animal welfare and safety, but it can also do a lot more to improve them.
If Labour was in government and I were in the Minister’s place, I would be demanding a greater set of targets from the industry, looking at how we can halve the deaths of horses involved in horse-racing. When will we reach the 0.1% target, and can it be a numerical target, not just a percentage target? As we heard from my hon. Friend the Member for York Central, Brexit could have an impact on the number of runners for races, so we want to make sure that we are not simply hitting a percentage target but talking about the number horses that die in the trade.
There is an awful lot of good news from the sector. However, there are an awful lot of improvements that Members on both sides should rightly demand if the industry is to continue to adapt and flex to meet the changing social contract and changing consumer demands that our electorate are making.
I wonder, regarding the geographical extent of the Bill, whether it will include British sovereign bases on Cyprus and elsewhere, and what its geographical extent to overseas territories will be.
Q Given that we hope that the trade in ivory will come to an end and that there will be less ivory available, might there be a greater desire among museums to have pieces of unworked ivory to demonstrate a historical connection, be it good or bad, with a region, an industry or a time period?
Hartwig Fischer: My hunch is that since 1975 there have been no purchases of unworked ivory, so I do not see any museum—any natural history museum or any museum of this kind—engaging in anything like this. These are historical holdings.
Dr Boström: Further to that, because they are historical holdings—as in the Pitt Rivers Museum or any of the famous university museums with natural and artistic objects—I imagine that there is enough in the existing public collections, across all museums, that, should it be necessary to display or interpret unworked ivory for an educational purpose, we do not have to go anywhere else for unworked ivory.
Q Are you convinced that sufficient resources are in place to ensure that the provisions in the Bill are full implemented? I am thinking particularly of the resources of the UK Government to make sure that British involvement in the trade can be halted.
David Cowdrey: I attended the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime conference at Kew last week, and one of the questions I asked was about the growing issue of cyber-crime. Does the National Wildlife Crime Unit have sufficient resources to tackle the illegal wildlife trade online? Quite clearly that is something it would like additional resource for.
As Will said, these criminals are working in an environment where they can adapt and change very swiftly. The online market provides anonymity, as they can create false identities, so trying to prosecute them becomes much more difficult. Only yesterday we had the introduction of new guidelines on the control of trade in endangered species from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which was fantastic. They include a new crime if someone is advertising an endangered species on annexe A and does not have an article 10 certificate.
Steps are being taken, but we are always playing catch-up with these criminals. We need the resources to be able to prosecute them. That goes not only at the UK level but at international level, with Interpol and within the countries where these crimes are taking place on the ground with poaching.
Will Travers: One of the tools at our disposal is to make sure that the charges for the exemption certificates are sufficiently high. I know that it is meant to be a cost-recovery process, but they should be sufficiently high to make sure that the very limited number of exemption certificates that are applied for are not applied for in a frivolous way, so people are not applying for lots of exemption certificates, which would defeat the object. We need to come back to the core principles of what we are trying to do here and ensure that these exemptions are extremely limited. One way of doing that is to say that if you want an exemption certificate, it will cost—I will make up the figure—£1,000. I think people will think twice when they have to go through that process and fork out £1,000 but might not get the certificate at the end of the day. That is another mechanism that we should look at.