As Scotland bans the use of wild animals in circuses, Wales could soon be next
Scotland has become the first UK nation to ban the exploitation of wild animals at circuses. And Wales could follow suit with the findings of a public consultation due to be published in the New Year.
MSPs unanimously voted through the ban at the final Stage 3 debate for The Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill on 20th December, and it now awaits Royal Assent.
Meanwhile, Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs in Wales has announced that the findings of the public consultation on the introduction of a licensing or registration scheme for Mobile Animal Exhibits (MAEs) in the Principality will be published in January.
Almost 1,000 responses to the consultation have been received, with most specifically responding to the question on banning wild animals in circuses.
“Travelling circuses simply cannot meet the needs of the animals, and the Welsh Government must act on the overwhelming evidence and will of the public to ban the outdated use of wild animals without delay,” says Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International.
Although currently there are no wild animal circuses in Wales, some do visit from England and three have visited Wales in recent years - Circus Mondao, Peter Jolly’s Circus and an Evening with Lions and Tigers. And with no bar to wild animal circuses in place, the door is open to others joining them.
'An Evening with Lions and Tigers' toured Wales in 2015 and featured two lions and three tigers forced to perform tricks under the guise of education.
Backing Animal Defenders International's call for a ban, Pembrokeshire-born actor Rhys Ifans said at the time, "Like bear baiting, witch burning and the 'Welsh not', this cruel practice belongs in the past." The show was prevented from performing in England over welfare failings, and sparked a public outcry, meeting with political opposition, protests and petitions.
But England lags behind both Scotland and Wales on the issue. The government has stated that it remains committed to a ban but has given no indication as to when the legislation - drafted and scrutinised back in 2013 (!) - will be introduced.
“The public called for a ban, and the Scottish Government and Parliament listened, banishing travelling circuses with wild animals forever," Jan Creamer adds. "Meanwhile, England continues to sit on its hands. It’s time to stop circus suffering.”
For more information about Animal Defenders International, click here
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