A new Bill introduced by the British Parliament which see a ban on the use of wild animals has been supported by Foyle SDLP MP Mark Durkan.
Parliament voted unanimously in favour of a ban in 2011, and the government first announced that it would take action on this issue in March 2012.
However, a delay in bringing in a ban has seen the number of wild animal acts increase and the return of “big cats” to circuses in Britain.
This Bill (which is identical to the one published by the government last year and scrutinised by MPs) would ban acts involving animals such as tigers, elephants and monkeys by the end of next year.
Mr Durkan, a long-standing supporter of the campaign for the ban spearheaded by Animal Defenders International (ADI), said it was important that the Bill could become law quickly so that the wild animals currently performing in circuses could be spared any further suffering.
He added: “Given the level of public support that the ban enjoys – a resounding 94% – I am hopeful progress can be made.”
ADI President Jan Creamer said he was delighted to have the support of Mark Durkan on this important issue.
Mr Creamer added: “A ban on the use of wild animals in circuses enjoys overwhelming political and public backing, so we hope the Prime Minister and government will get behind this new bill to finally bring an end, as promised, to the suffering of lions, tigers and other wild animals in circuses.”
Judi Dench and Ricky Gervais area long list of ADI celebrity supporters who want to see a ban on wild animal acts – including Paul McCartney, Roger Moore, Brian May, Moby, Imelda Staunton, Eddie Izzard, Twiggy, Annette Crosbie and Brian Blessed.