Wild Animals (Circuses)

Part of Backbench Business — [29th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:38 pm on 23rd June 2011.

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Photo of James Paice James Paice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 5:38 pm, 23rd June 2011

No. I will finish with the legal matters before giving way again.

Obviously I cannot tell the House that there would be a challenge, or what the result would be, but we do have to note the advice. The Radford review concluded in 2007 that no scientific evidence existed to show that circuses by their nature compromised the welfare of wild animals. It was on that basis that it concluded that a ban on the grounds of welfare would be disproportionate in the absence of evidence that welfare was compromised.

There are two further risks from that action: the cost to the taxpayer and the risk that a court might agree to suspend the ban until legal proceedings had concluded. In other words, although the law itself might have been passed, nothing would have changed for the animals themselves.