One of Britain's last performing tigers
As the Welsh Government works towards banning travelling circuses with wild animals (read about it here), Conservative MP Will Quince will bring the debate back to Westminster this Wednesday (Feb 10) when he attempts to use the Ten Minute Rule to introduce his Wild Animals in Circuses (Prohibition) Bill.
The 10 minute rule allows any MP to propose a piece of legislation for future debate. Most never progress to law, but a rare few do. Since 1945, sixty acts of parliament have become law after originally being introduced under the 10 minute rule. The most recent was the Divorce (Religious Marriages) Act 2002.
In most cases, MPs know private members bills stand little chance and introduce them purely as a way of gaining publicity for their chosen cause.
Throughout the second half of 2014, Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick kept the issue of banning circus animals in the media by using the 10 minute rule to introduce a similar bill every few weeks, after the Government failed to pass a ban it promised in 2012 would be law by December 2015. On each occasion, Fitzpatrick's bill was blocked by either of the Conservative MPs Andrew Rosindell, a genuine circus supporter, or Christopher Chope, who took the official party line that the matter would be debated "when Parliamentary time allows." (Click here for more)
Some in the circus industry see the government's delay as a sign they have no heart to bring in a ban that was promised in haste after the media storm surrounding Anne the Elephant.
Animal rights groups, by contrast, maintain that the Prime Minister has assured them that a ban is still on the agenda, promising, "We're going to do it."
Update 10 February: Chris Chope brings hope that the government is changing its mind about a ban. Click here for latest. And click here to see what YOU can do to make a difference.
Read the century-long timeline here.
And click here to read 10 Reasons Why The Show Should Go On!