I agree that travelling circuses are no place for wild animals and I know this is a view shared by many local people and animal welfare organisations. Legislation on this issue is long overdue, and the lack action from the Government has been shameful.
I share your frustration that the Coalition Government failed to legislate on this during the last Parliament. This is despite the House of Commons backing a ban and the Prime Minister stating that a ban would be introduced.
As you know, the Coalition Government published a draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill in 2013 but failed to find parliamentary time for this Bill, or for a Private Members' Bill that was introduced to finally ban the use of wild animals in circuses. It is also the case that the current Government failed to include legislation on this in the Queen's Speech on 27 May 2015, despite the fact that the Conservative election manifesto included a commitment to implement a ban.
I agree that an outright ban should be a priority, particularly due to concerns raised about the Government’s ineffective licencing system. I am therefore very pleased that the Wild Animals in Circuses (Prohibition) Bill which I am co-sponsoring received widespread support during its first reading today, and is scheduled to be debated again in Parliament during early March.
I will press the Government on its progress towards banning wild animals in circuses and I can assure you I will continue to bear in mind the points you raise when this Bill is presented to Parliament.