A proposal to end the practice of using animals in circuses in Brighton and Hove was rejected after local Labour Councillors performed a u-turn on the issue at a meeting of Tourism, Development and Culture yesterday (Thursday 21st September).
The Council’s current animal welfare charter does not allow land owned by the council to be used by circuses with caged and performing animals, but still retains an exception, meaning that some animals such as horses, ponies, rabbits, budgerigars and other birds can be made to perform.
At a meeting of full Council on April 6th, Chair of the Committee Alan Robins had pledged to review and update the animal welfare charter, following a hearing of a public petition calling for a total ban. Yet Green Councillors and campaigners expressed shock and anger as during yesterday’s committee the Labour administration put forward a recommendation for ‘no change’ to the charter, the exact opposite of what Cllr Robins had promised. Labour and the Conservatives then joined forces to throw out a Green amendment that would have seen the issue go out to the public for consultation.
Green Councillor Tom Druitt commented:
“Back at April’s full Council we heard impassioned speeches from all parties, agreeing that the old-fashioned practice of parading animals around in circuses for our entertainment must come to an end. It was Labour Councillor Alan Robins who said not once – but twice, that in his role as Chair of Tourism, Development and Culture committee, he would recommend a review and update of our animal welfare charter.
But when it came to committee, the Labour group did the exact opposite of what they promised and voted to keep the current charter, as well as rejecting a request to allow the public to be consulted on the issue.
“This u-turn from the Labour Council on the issue of animal rights is a disgrace. It shows they cannot be trusted on animal welfare. But it also shows their true colours in local Government – a party happy to talk big to win popularity over an issue, but who, out of the public gaze, are ready and willing to betray the public and abandon their positions. Greens will continue to uphold our strong principles on animal rights, to push the Council to move with the times and end the unnecessary practice of using animals for entertainment. But on this and countless other issues the city of Brighton and Hove is being let down time and time again by a local Labour council full of false promises.”