Portsmouth City Council has updated its bans on all wild and many domestic animals from circuses performing in the city.
The decision comes after yesterday’s cabinet meeting where it was decided that only dogs and horses would only be allowed to perform.
As reported by The News, concerns were raised last October when cats were in a performance by Zippo’s Circus on Southsea Common.
At last month’s cabinet meeting when the issue was discussed, Councillor Rob New, cabinet member for the environment, said using animals in a circus is a ‘barbaric, draconian act.’
The council - reviewing its policy from its last decision in 1988 on the subject - no longer permits ‘any circuses that include any animals to take place on city council land or on any sites where a venue is operated on behalf of the city council with the exception of horses and dogs’.
From the council minutes in 1988 it also said that any circus which contains any performing animals with the exception of dogs and horses on council-owned land.
But Tracey Jones, who gave a deputation at both meetings, argued that no animals should be used in performances and was left disappointed.
Tracey said: ‘Because of the particular welfare concerns with animals used in circuses and the potential for suffering in the constant travelling, the constant temporary living conditions, the performance of unnatural tricks and training methods, I asked that the council supports a total ban on the use of all animals at circuses.
‘This is not taking a stronger stand against the inclusion of animals at circuses and it doesn’t adopt the proposal that circuses should not include animals for entertainment.
‘If it has been acknowledged that it is not acceptable for some animals to be included in circuses for instance other domestic animals such as cats then why is it being deemed acceptable to use dogs and horses?’
The council has also banned mobile petting zoos, static exhibitions or the sale of animals (which includes invertebrates, reptiles and fish, excluding working animals) at any events on council land.
However, the exception to this would be Cumberland House Natural History Museum and Butterfly House, Blue Reef Aquarium, schools or similar where the main role of the venue is for educational or conservation purposes and safeguarding can be demonstrated.
Cllr Luke Stubbs, deputy cabinet member, said: ‘I think it is a reasonable compromise allowing some domestic animals to be used with what we do with council events.
‘On the other hand, no-one wants to see wild and exotic animals seen.’
Cllr Steve Wemyss, who was also part of the 1988 decision-making, added that dogs and horses have ‘been working alongside mankind for thousands of years.
Cllr Wemyss said: ‘If there is any problems, it is the reverse.
‘We have the right to inspect circuses on our land and we do that.’
However, three people gave deputations supporting the decision to allow dogs and horses, including a representative from Zippo’s, who were pleased with the proposal.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals director Elisa Allen said: ‘Wild-animal circuses have no place in Portsmouth – or anywhere else – and PETA salutes the city council for rejecting this cruelty.’