My own MP (Don Foster) has campaigned for this and has been a long time supporter. I completely agree with his statement:
"This is a matter of principle. It is not right for humans to keep animals in unsuitable conditions for their own entertainment."
The excellent Mark Cole posted a blog on this subject including his own experiences in Thailand. The UK should be leading on issues such as this. Animals don't have the chance to vote or have a say in the conditions in which we keep them once a human has decided that they want them. They don't have a voice, but this doesn't mean that they don't have feelings. I am a firm believer that we shouldn't be preaching to countries whilst doing the opposite ourselves - hence my opinions on nuclear weapons. A zoo is one thing, the keepers attempt to keep them in as natural conditions as possible - I am not the biggest fan of this, but at least they have room to move and act in a fairly natural way, probably with a safer and easier quality of life than in the wild, travelling circuses however cannot offer this.
I would like to say well done to Mark Pritchard for standing up for what he believes in - even against the will of his party leader.
In a loosely related subject I quickly want to bring up, recently The British Horseracing Authority have been reviewing the decision as to whether the jockeys should be allowed to whip the horses in order to encourage them to go faster. This is not before time in my opinion. I am against horse racing, and any sport that uses animals as their participation is not for their own benefit but for the human spectators enjoyment. I think this in itself is wrong, at least household pets have been domesticated and both species benefit from the interaction. I don't agree with forcing an animal to do anything - I bet their will would not be to be forced to run for x distance - potentially jumping over hazardous fences, for no reason other than the enjoyment of people. Then to throw into the mix the "encouragement" of whipping, well I find this shameful. How would you like it if your boss was able to whip you in order to improve your productivity - I would bet you wouldn't be too happy and wouldn't exactly want to do the task in the first place! I can tolerate just racing (whilst disapproving) but for me whipping has to go - hopefully this will go the way of the circus animals.