Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

IF the 1997 intake of MPs is distinguished by anything, it is by its obsession with animal rights. In the general furore over fox-hunting, bans on minkfarming and hare-coursing are passing almost unnoticed. The latest target may incite more comment, though. It is the circus. Bob Laxton, Labour MP for Derby North, along with 33 other mostly Labour MPs, has tabled a motion deploring `the use of live animals as circus acts'.

Whether they believe that dead animals would make more acceptable acts they don't say, but the MPs have called on their constituents to boycott performances by the Circus King Company, which has recently been on tour in the Midlands complete with an eight-yearold bear called Little Fred. There is no suggestion that the company has been maltreating the animal: the MPs' objection appears to be linked to an assertion that enticing bears to perform `is a practice that harks back to the Dark Ages'. …

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