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The Captive Animals' Protection Society is a UK charity campaigning to end the use of animals in entertainment, including circuses, zoos, the exotic pet trade and the audio-visual industry.
Founded in 1957 by retired school teacher Irene Heaton at a time when circuses were at their peak and all had animals.
In 1965, CAPS promoted a bill to the House of Lords, sponsored by Lord Somers (who was then president of CAPS) to prohibit the use of performing animals. Despite great support it was defeated by just 14 votes.
The 1970s saw CAPS organising demonstrations outside circuses. Pressure increased on animal circuses in the 1980s, gaining the support of the National Council of Women and local authorities started to prohibit circuses from using council land.
In the mid-1980s CAPS started one of its most important campaigns, to stop animal acts at the prestigious Blackpool Tower Circus, where for six months of every year the animals were confined in the cellars of the tower. Three years later, it was announced that animal acts would stop at the circus once the contract expired in 1990. When the circus owner moved to the adjoining Pleasure Beach there were weekly demonstrations. Backed by vets and other experts, the campaign worked and in 1997 Blackpool Pleasure Beach announced there would be no more animal circuses on its land.
Three of the charity's former directors have been given awards for their work by the RSPCA.
CAPS became a registered charity in 2008.
CAPS has carried out undercover investigations and researches the use of animals in entertainment. In 2004 it commissioned the largest and most in-depth investigation ever made into the public aquarium industry, revealing most animals to have been taken from the wild and disputing conservation claims by the industry.
Campaigning against the use of animals in circuses has remained the core focus, supporting protests against travelling circuses around the UK.
The charity's patrons include politicians, academics and people from the world of arts:
Professor Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado
Mike Hancock, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament
Britta Jaschinski, world-renowned photographer
Professor Randy Malamud, professor of English at Georgia State University
Dr Edgar Mann, ex-GP and member of the ancient Isle of Man Parliament
Fiona Oakes, elite marathon runner
Brian Sewell, art critic and columnist
Angela Smith, Baroness Smith of Basildon, Labour peer and former Labour Government Member of Parliament and Minister
Lady Stratford, wife of late Tony Banks, Baron Stratford
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
- ↑ Sir Andrew Bowden, MBE Authorised Biography – Debrett’s People of Today, Sir Andrew Bowden, MBE Profile. Debretts.com. Retrieved on 2012-12-30.
- ↑ UK | England | Somerset | Zoo admits connection with circus. BBC News (2009-10-19). Retrieved on 2012-12-30.
- ↑ Animal protection group urge residents to boycott controversial circus (From Thurrock Gazette). Thurrockgazette.co.uk (2009-10-06). Retrieved on 2012-12-30.
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