LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Andrew Rosindell MP defends circus animals against "cruel" animal rights activists

Andrew Rosindell MP
speaks up for circus animals

Conservative member of Parliament Andrew Rosindell has explained to his local newspaper the Romford Recorder why he blocked Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick’s circus animals bill in the House of Commons last week.

He told the paper he was “asked” to object by the government, which wants to prioritise the “more important” EU referendum bill, explaining, “If the circus bill goes first, other parties will try and stop the EU bill, that’s why they asked me to put my objection down.”

He added, however, that he was personally against a proposed ban on wild animals in the circus, saying, “There is a very tiny number of animals left in the UK circus and no cruelty. Cruelty existed years ago, it is no longer there.”

Rosindell also hit out at the underlying agenda of animal rights organisations. “They’ll want to ban zoos and wildlife parks next. They will want to it to be illegal to own a dog. Extremist people seem to think any person who does anything with an animal must be cruel. These so called animal rights people, they are the cruel ones.”

Mr Rosindell added that his research shows circus animals have a “rhythm to their lives. There are generations who know nothing else. They get more exercise than they would in a zoo. They treat the trainers as their papa. The kindest thing is to leave them - to do anything else would traumatise them.”

Is the government really in favour of the ban it promised?

The news that Rosindell was instructed by the government to block Fitzpatrick's bills has made anti-circus campaigners realise what the rest of us have know for ages: that politicians have a habit of saying one thing and doing another. Fitzpatrick's private members bill was, after all, designed to hasten a ban the government promised would take effect from the end of 2015 but which it has taken no action to implement.

He said of last week's defeat: “The Prime Minister is on the record as supporting this Bill, which was published by the Government and which I have adopted. I was advised by the relevant Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that the Government would support my Bill. However, the Deputy Chief Whip, I am advised, asked Mr. Rosindell to object to the Bill. So with the Government and the Prime Minister saying one thing officially, and the Deputy Chief Whip on behalf of the Government saying and doing something completely to the contrary, how can we clarify what the Government’s position is on a Bill that has all-party support?”

Update: Friday 24 October. Circus Bill blocked again.
Jim Fitzpatrick made another attempt to get his circus bill read again this afternoon. This time it was blocked by another Conservative MP, Philip Davies. Fitzpatrick will try again on November 7. But is there a limit to the number of times he can keep bringing his bill to Parliament, or will the issue be brought to the Commons and blocked every few weeks from now until the next election? Sounds to me like it's becoming more of a pantomime than a circus...

Circus Mania
author Douglas McPherson
meets one of Britain's last
circus elephants
Read more about the issue of animals in the circus in Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book For Anyone who Dreamed of Running Away with the Circus. Click here to read the reviews on Amazon.

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