BECTU supports animal scheme

BECTU is supporting a proposed scheme to avoid a threat to the use of animals in television, film and the stage.

“All use of animals in performance is under threat”

The scheme, proposed by Performing Animals Welfare Standards International (PAWSI), is for an industry-led scheme for the registration of animal suppliers, circuses and individual trainers.

PAWSI is concerned that "unless the scheme is taken forward by industry then it is likely that regulators will step in and enforce a system through local authorities" which could lead to the use of animals in performances being "under threat".

The scheme has the broad support of welfare organisations, along with the Production Guild, PACT, BECTU, BIAZA, Equity.

In a statement PAWSI said it is "seeking urgent funding to take the scheme [forward and] get the final seal of government and would welcome the help of any of the major broadcasters.

"Make no mistake this is a clarion call for help, all use of animals in performance is under threat and action is needed now."

Officials from DEFRA, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly have met with representatives of the film, television and circus industries to discuss issues surrounding the future of performing animals in UK.

Each devolved area is dealing with this slightly differently, but the Animal Welfare Act 2006, in its various incarnations, will be revoking the old Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 later this year.

This review of the use of wild animals in circus is predicted to lead to a wider review of how animals are cared for and trained in performances, whether live on stage or in film and television.

19 September 2007