The Government has announced a new Bill that will ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.
The Bill is part of the Government’s commitment made in February 2018 to introduce a ban by January 2020 when existing interim licensing regulations will expire.
Animals such as zebras, camels and reindeer are currently used to perform in travelling circuses across England and Wales. Scotland has already banned wild animals in travelling circuses, and the Welsh Government have committed to introducing a new bill banning their use.
Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, commented:
“I am very pleased to see this Bill make its way through Parliament and give it my full support. In this day and age it is vital that we protect our animals and environment.
“It is always sad to see wild animals in small, cramped conditions on the road. I think this is an incredibly important step towards animal welfare and protection.”
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals in the 21st century and I am pleased that this legislation will put an end to this practice for good.
“Today’s announcement follows other measures we have taken to strengthen our position as a world leader on animal protection. This includes our ban on ivory sales to protect elephants, and delivering Finn’s Law to strengthen the protection of service animals.”
Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley said:
“I am pleased that today’s legislation will deliver on the ban that many welfare charities and parliamentarians have been calling for.
“The general public can still enjoy a trip to the circus, but it is good to know that wild animals will no longer be a part of that experience.”
The announcement has been welcomed by charities and organisations that have been campaigning for the ban.
Dr Chris Draper, Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity at the Born Free Foundation said:
“After years of waiting for this issue to be resolved, Born Free is delighted that Mr Gove will now bring this Bill forward. The use of wild animals in travelling circuses is outdated and unpopular, and this legislation will bring England into line with a long and increasing list of countries which have banned this practice. Born Free and its supporters have campaigned for a long time for this outcome and we look forward to the swift progress of the Bill through Parliament.”
David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs at the RSPCA said:
“We really welcome the Government introducing a Bill to ban the outdated practice of using wild animals in circuses.
“We’ve campaigned against having wild animals in circuses for many years. They have complex needs that cannot be properly met in a circus environment. It’s high time keeping wild animals in circuses is consigned to the history books and we look forward to the day that it is banned for good in England.”