10 Ten issues for action
5. The use of wild animals in circuses.
In the past five years when the government has been
considering a ban on wild animals in circuses, seven
countries including Costa Rica, Greece and Paraguay have
passed laws to ban their use in circuses. Whilst there are
only two circuses in England and Wales that use wild
animals and 25 wild animals left in them, the failure of
successive governments to address this issue risks the UK
losing its reputation as a leader on animal welfare. Seven
EU countries as well as many outside Europe (including
Colombia, Israel, Peru and Singapore) have all successfully
adopted bans. There is good scientific evidence that shows
the welfare of wild animals can be compromised by the
transport and living conditions in travelling circuses. The
government agreed a draft Bill in 2013 which has been
through pre-legislative scrutiny, but it ran out of time to
introduce the Bill in 2014 as it did in 2010 .
WHAT WE WANT
The government to bring in a ban on the use of
wild animals in circuses.
6. Hunting ban on wild animals.
The Hunting Act 2004 has now been in force for nine years
and prosecutions taken during this time show that it is
enforceable and proportionate in protecting wildlife in
England and Wales. It is important that the Act is not
overturned or amended to allow more dogs to be used
and enforcement is improved at all hunt meets.
WHAT WE WANT
The government to maintain the prohibition on
hunting wild mammals with dogs.
4. Commit to having a sustainable and scienceled
approach to bovine TB control.
InJuly 2013 the UK government published its 25-year
strategy on bovine TB which divided the country into three
geographical areas: High risk, Edge areas and Low risk. The
proposal to agree and license any new culls of badgers in
the High risk zone in up to ten new areas a year was to be
determined by the successful conclusion of two pilot culls in
Somerset and Gloucestershire. These culls had originally
been announced in December 2011 and the measures of
'success' would be judged against the effectiveness of
removing target percentages of badgers, the safety of the
cull and humaneness of the shooting methods.
Even after reductions in target badger numbers and
extended pilot culling periods, the culling companies failed
to achieve the 70 percent target reduction in badger
populations - in Somerset it reached under 50 percent and
in Gloucester less than 39 percent. Expert scientific opinion
strongly suggests this is likely to result in widespread
perturbation of badger populations, increasing the
prevalence of infection among remaining badgers and
therefore increasing the risk to cattle. The culls also failed
the humaneness test with up to 18 percent of culled
badgers taking longer than five minutes to die12.
However the government, whilst it has dropped plans to
licence further culls, has pressed ahead with the second
year of badger culling in Gloucestershire and Somerset
due to start in summer 2014.
WHAT WE WANT
The government to suspend the cull of badgers
and invest in badger vaccination in high risk TB
areas as well as edge areas. Additional funding
should also be available for licensing a cattle
vaccine and further improvements to cattle
movement restrictions and biosecurity measures.