A gaping hole in UK animal welfare legislation became evident when the story of four white lion cubs hit the press. The white lions were born in a British safari park, sold to a businessman, who it emerges was acting as a middleman, and ended up in a Japanese animal circus.
Safari parks provide a spacious, sometimes almost natural, environment for their animals, who can lead relatively normal lives. These four lions could have expected a reasonable life, able to exhibit natural social behaviour.
Instead, they were condemned to the inhumane conditions of a circus. One lion apparently has already developed a serious stress illness.
The UK promised a ban on the use of “wild” animals, such as lions, in circuses earlier this year on very valid animal welfare grounds. Now it needs to ensure that animals born in British facilities do not get sent to suffer abroad.
Tell the government to tighten up regulations on the export of exotic animals to ensure that this does not happen again.
We the undersigned ask that you amend regulations on the export of exotic animals to ensure that animals bred in British zoos and safari parks do not end up in circuses in countries with far looser animal welfare laws.
The case of the four white lions born in West Midland Safari Park that ended up in Circus Kinoshita, apparently perfectly legally, showed that there is a huge loophole in the current legislation.
Circuses do not provide anything approaching a natural environment for their animals and they are completely inappropriate for animals that are not even domesticated. This is why a ban on the practice of using “zoo” animals in circuses was banned in Britain was promised earlier in 2012. We now need to ensure that such animals don’t get sent out of the country to suffer in this way abroad.
Please take steps to remedy this hole in the current legislation.
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