Romford MP speaks out against ban on using wild animals in circuses
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell was the only member of the House of Commons to speak out against a ban on using wild animals in circuses on Thursday (June 23) - and denied accusations that he had been influenced by his connections to a circus.
The non-binding motion was approved by members, putting pressure on the government to introduce a ban.
Speaking to the Recorder afterwards, the Conservative MP said: “I think I was probably the only one in the chamber that bothered to look into the facts of it. I think we’d all think – without knowing the facts – that it is cruel.
“There are a tiny number of animals in circuses – under 40. Many of them are born into the circus and their entire rhythm of life from when they are born is to perform, and they are loved like family pets by their owners.”
He added that he opposed the introduction of any new wild animals into circuses and that any cases of animal cruelty should be punished.
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During the debate Conservative MP Mark Pritchard suggested that Mr Rosindell’s opinion may have been influenced by his connection to the Great British Circus.
In 2009 the Romford MP wrote a foreword to a brochure produced by the circus - one of the only in the country to use wild animals – praising it.
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But Mr Rosindell said: “I was happy to write the forward because it has high standards of animal welfare and it comes to Romford every year. I’m not paid by the Great British Circus. I’ve been there as a local MP and as a shadow minister for animal welfare (previously).”
Labour MP Jim Dowd said that Mr Rosindell’s views “were either idiosyncratic or idiotic” and that his speech was “a display of stupidity that’s quite mind numbing or else it’s a deliberate attempt not to face up to the heart of the issue, which is about animal cruelty.”