Martin Freeman to U.K. Prime Minister: Ban Wild Animals From Circuses

Actor Urges David Cameron to Stop Prolonging Circus Cruelty, for the Sake of Animals and Children

For Immediate Release:
September 28, 2015

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

London – The use of wild animals in circuses still hasn’t been banned in the U.K., but Sherlock star Martin Freeman is on the case. With Parliament back in session, the actor has sent an urgent letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron on behalf of PETA U.K. urging him—from one father to another—to do the right thing and ban the use of wild animals in circuses. The letter comes after Cameron failed to follow through on his promise to ban wild animals from traveling circuses by January 2015.

“As a father, I’d like to see my children grow up in a country where animals are treated with respect, not as objects of ridicule,” writes Freeman, who has two children with Sherlock co-star Amanda Abbington. “Allowing circuses with wild animals to continue to operate in the country sends the message to children that it’s OK to dominate animals and ignore any pain and suffering that they’re experiencing—which, of course, it’s not.”

Wild animals in circuses commonly suffer from chronic health problems, abusive treatment, psychological disorders, and aberrant behavior, and many die prematurely. By virtue of the very nature of circuses—which confine animals to cages or boxcars for long periods of time, force them to perform tricks that are uncomfortable and even painful for them, and deny them the opportunity to engage in natural behavior—animal welfare can never be ensured in a circus environment.

Freeman joins Michael Sheen in teaming up with PETA U.K.—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—to push the British government to join Austria, Bolivia, Finland, India, Mexico, and many other countries in prohibiting wild-animal circus acts.

Freeman’s full letter is available upon request. For more information, please visit

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Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind