www.guardian.co.uk 19th May 2011
The argument over whether to ban animals performing in circuses has become even more contentious as, it appears, the lawsuit that Environment Minister Jim Paice used to justify not enacting the ban doesn’t even exist yet. Following a campaign by The Independent newspaper to stop animals in circuses, galvanised in part by the horrific beatings experienced by Anne the Asian elephant at Bobby Roberts Super Circus (pictured), Mr Paice MP claimed that a ban was not possible due to a lawsuit between the European Circus Association and the Austrian government. He also added that it could be against the UK Human Rights Act. Fearing a similar legal issue in the UK, a ban was not possible. With the new revelation that the case does not actually exist, Mr Paice made the extraordinary statement that if you don’t like watching lions and elephants performing in circuses, then don’t go. MPs from all parties rounded on Mr Paice with Caroline Lucas branding the government ‘cowardly’ on the issue. There are 39 animals used in UK circuses today including lions, tigers, crocodiles, zebras and camels. There are no elephants after the retirement of Anne.