All 1 Lindsay Hoyle contributions to the Wild Animals in Circuses Act 2019

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Tue 7th May 2019
Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill
Commons Chamber

2nd reading: House of Commons & Programme motion: House of Commons

Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: HM Treasury

Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill

Lindsay Hoyle Excerpts
2nd reading: House of Commons & Programme motion: House of Commons
Tuesday 7th May 2019

(5 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Wild Animals in Circuses Act 2019 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Andrew Rosindell Portrait Andrew Rosindell (Romford) (Con)
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Everyone in the Chamber is completely committed to the welfare of animals, including me, but will my hon. Friend think about what he is saying? If he is saying that an animal does not belong in a circus—I accept that that is what the vast majority of people believe is right—does he think that animals in other contexts should be where they are? Does an animal belong in a zoo? Does a horse belong on a racecourse? Does a greyhound belong in a greyhound stadium? He has to look at the implications and precedent that legislation sets.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Sir Lindsay Hoyle)
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I think I can help, because what the hon. Gentleman asks would broaden the debate outside the scope of circuses. The Bill is about circus animals. It is not about breeding programmes in zoos or different things. The hon. Gentleman is comparing horses and dogs to a circus, but the Bill is about wild animals in circuses. I would like to keep the debate contained to the subject before us.

Simon Hoare Portrait Simon Hoare
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If I may, I will reply briefly and within order to the point that my hon. Friend the Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) raised. Representing Romford, he would be a very brave man to suggest that greyhound racing should be stopped. He makes a valid point. I can well remember being taken as a young boy to Barry zoo, which Vale of Glamorgan Council eventually closed because it was so fiendishly awful and the treatment of its animals was so bad. Standards have to reflect the very highest standards of animal welfare.

Those days have gone. When circuses were at their most popular and wild animals were in use, circuses could say, “We are doing some sort of education as well.” However, the likes of David Attenborough and co have changed that. We can be educated in our own homes about wild animals in their natural habitats and we can get more information and education in that way. Those people do that important job in a much better way.

I can remember as a boy being taken—my mother is still not entirely sure why—to Gerry Cottle and Billy Smart’s circus when it performed in Cardiff. I see my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake) nodding almost with reminiscence at those names. We never left those circuses elevated by joy; we left with a terrible feeling of sadness. There was something alien, wrong and outdated about it, even in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It just goes to show that sometimes this place needs to find ways of moving far more quickly to better reflect changes in mindset.

I was pleased and proud to be a co-sponsor when my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Will Quince) brought forward a Bill on this issue in February 2016. I am delighted to see him in his place. I remember, as on similar occasions, that it was opposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope). I have to say that anything opposed by him usually seems a good thing in my book.

I am delighted by this Bill. I am grateful that Ministers are bringing it forward. I know that the numbers we are talking about are low, but I view the Bill as a sender of a message and an articulation of a set of values. It is also an insurance policy. Were there to be a European renaissance of wild animals performing in circuses, through this legislation the message would go out from the House and across our parties that such circuses would not be welcome in the UK.