An animal welfare charity has once again condemned the use of wild animals in circuses after inspection reports on the two circuses licensed to use them found they were not addressing welfare issues.

According to Animal Defenders International (ADI), a number of welfare and management issues were raised during three inspections at Peter Jolly’s Circus.

For example, said ADI, three snakes had been allowed to get to an advanced state of putrefaction, preventing a postmortem examination to determine their cause of death, while tests on the remaining snakes identified A Salmonella, clostridia and Escherichia coli bacteria, with the probable cause of death clostridial septicaemia.

Meanwhile, despite the circus having been advised by inspectors to provide water for animals in the pre-performance holding area, it had not been provided. Water for the tigers to bathe in was also withheld.

ADI also said veterinary records were found to be incomplete for the fox, raccoon and snakes, while paperwork was also missing for a tuberculosis test for the Ankole – a type of African cow. Humidity readings for the snake vivarium were also not recorded.

Failings were also found at Circus Mondao, said ADI.

According to the campaigners, a camel was suffering from a recurring wound on its hock and a reindeer showed signs of “significant” pruritis, causing distress and coat loss. A previous inspection, meanwhile, had found one of the camels had “mange-like” legions on both hind legs and both camels appeared to be infertile.

ADI also said a zebra was kept next to a pony following the death of their companion. ADI said this is wrong as even though the two animals are members of the same biological family, the two are different species with different needs and are “unnatural companions“.

ADI president Jan Creamer said: “The revelations that circus animals are being failed is sadly not surprising to us, but we hope this latest evidence, which just scratches the surface of what these animals endure, will quash any doubts about the inevitable suffering and unnatural lives these animals lead.

“Politicians have the power to bring about change by supporting the bill to ban wild animals in circuses and we hope they do the right thing by the public and, more importantly, the animals.”

ADI’s call comes as Parliament prepares to consider a ban on such acts later today (October 17). According to the charity, the Government has “remained committed” to banning the use of wild animals in circuses since 2012. However, progress appeared to have stalled, it said, leading to former Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) minister Jim Fitzpatrick introducing a bill to secure the ban ahead of the general election.

The bill will have its second reading today.

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