Romford MP Andrew Rosindell labels circus bill as ‘theatre’ and was ‘asked to object’
PUBLISHED: 17:31 21 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:01 22 October 2014
Andrew Rosindell has hit back at “extremist” animal rights activists who bombarded him with abusive messages after he objected to the circus bill.
The Romford Tory MP blocked the bill to ban wild circus animals, championed by Animal Defenders International (ADI), at its second hearing in the House of Commons last week.
It is the second time the former shadow minister for animal welfare has taken a stand against the proposals, which are supported by David Cameron.
Speaking to the Recorder, Mr Rosindell revealed he was “asked” to object by the government, which wants to prioritise the “more important” EU referendum bill.
He explained: “If the circus bill goes first, other parties will try and stop the EU bill, that’s why they asked me to put my objection down.”
After receiving many abusive emails, he said he was “totally against” animal cruelty, but labelled Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick’s bill as “a bit of theatre”.
“It means nothing,” he said. “There is a very tiny number of animals left in the UK circus and no cruelty. Cruelty existed years ago, it is no longer there.”
He suggested traditional British circuses would be “killed off” by the bill, adding: “They’ll want to ban zoos and wildlife parks next. They will want to it to be illegal to own a dog.
“Extremist people seem to think any person who does anything with an animal must be cruel. These so called animal rights people, they are the cruel ones.”
Mr Rosindell, who once wrote a foreward for the Great British Circus programme, a now defunct circus where ADI exposed elephant abuse, explained his research shows circus animals have a “rhythm to their lives”.
“There are generations who know nothing else,” he said. “They get more exercise than they would in a zoo. They treat the trainers as their papa. The kindest thing is to leave them - to do anything else would traumatise them.”
He did not say whether he would object the bill on Friday when it is put forward again.
The ADI campaign is supported by celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Sir Roger Moore and Eddie Izzard. Campaigners say “little progress” has been made since the government first backed the idea in 2012, with the inaction leading to a big cat act returning to Britain.
ADI president Jan Creamer said: “It is difficult to comprehend why anyone would block this popular and long-awaited legislation.
“Those responsible are sabotaging efforts to bring the suffering of circus animals finally to an end.”