Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

From Rona Brown, PAWSI, Performing Animals Welfare Standards International.


Calls for a ban. In your Explanatory Memorandum you quote percentages of respondents who replied to surveys, consultations and petitions and later in the document do explain more fully regarding the actual numbers of respondents.  However in discussion you only quote the percentages, 96%, 97%, etc. This is misleading to the general readers and general public as the respondent’s never total more than 10 thousand or thereabouts.  This is out of 3 million or more Welsh population, and in truth the majority of respondents are not truly Welsh and do not live in Wales.  It is much the same in England.  Also you report quite accurately that 6,546 thousand of respondents to one consultation 4,19 thousand were identical and sent by Born Free.  At the meeting on Wednesday one of your gentlemen said the surveys etc, were a representative of the public, forgive me if I have not quoted your words correctly.  Carol spoke well about the public who respond and she is correct that most of the respondents are guided by the Animal Rights group they support.  I would ask you therefore to change your policy of just quoting percentages and post and talk in real numbers as the way you do it now is misleading and tend to side with the Animal Rights.  You also quote the Linda Joyce Jones petition as evidence when she got people to sign by telling untruths, which I pointed out to the petitions Committee.


Ethics.  Ethics is a very subjective matter and is personal to us all and we all have different views on what it actually means. Most ordinary people view ethics as moral principle or a guide line on how they live their lives and subconsciously it rules their behaviour and the way they carry out their activities.  However it is not something they dwell on daily, it is inherent in them and often is something in their makeup they learnt as a child.  They know what is right or wrong and without even thinking about it as a general will behave correctly.  There are no ethics laws, but there are laws in various formats which govern morality or rights and wrongs, disobey these laws or be punished.  So if we accept that there are rights and wrongs we have to ask is it morally correct to ban something which is being undertaken by one group and ban them from doing it but not ban other groups doing the same activity under a different name?  Or is it morally acceptable to use the reason for the ban based only on a small minority who do not like the group bring banned? Law makers are bound by moral codes which they sign up to when becoming lawmakers and law upholders.  All MPs, AMs and other civil servants are governed by the 7 Nolan Principles and other codes of conducts, which are all based around being unbiased, researching the truth, and making fair and unbiased decisions.  So those who think that animals “ought” not to be in circus should look at the evidence of the last 7 years of licensing in England and other records of longevity in human care as opposed to longevity in the “wild”, welfare, enrichment, etc, should ask themselves if it is just their opinion or the actually truth.  The licensed circuses and others want regulations in Wales and they want the bad people punished and the good people rewarded with a license, they want circus animals to be cared for and be secure in the hands of good people. 


Thank you for listening to me on Wednesday and thank you for allowing me to submit these further bits and bobs.


Rona Brown.