Wild animals are to be banned from performing in circuses in England if a draft bill due to be announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove becomes law.
The reform comes after a long-running campaign by welfare groups which argued that making animals perform in travelling circuses seriously affected their health and well-being as they are often subject to brutal and degrading treatment at the hands of circus masters – frequently beaten, starved and kept unsanitary conditions while they are made to perform for crowds.
According to PETA Director Elisa Allen:
“A circus environment can’t possibly meet the complex needs [of wild animals].
“These animals are understandably frustrated, stressed and depressed from a lifetime of being denied the opportunity to do anything that’s natural and important to them, kept caged in trailers that are hauled around the country, and forced to perform confusing tricks under the big top out of some Victorian-era sense of amusement.
“The Government in Westminster, which, despite years of promising to bring in a ban, continues to sit back and do nothing as England falls further and further behind the growing number of countries putting a stop to these cruel institutions.”
David Cameron introduced draft legislation in 2013 that had widespread support from MPs but failed to become law, although over half of local authorities in the UK already refused to allow these types of circuses to perform in their boroughs.
A bill was introduced by Cameron’s 2015 Government which received widespread support from MPs and was expected to reach its second reading last year but the legislation fell after the snap election in the summer. However, environment secretary Michael Gove intends to reintroduce the bill after Scotland introduced a ban on animals in travelling circuses last month.
But now Mr Gove is poised to reintroduce the legislation later this year but it will only apply to England because the issue is devolved in Wales and Northern Ireland, the Daily Mail reported.
The move follows a public consultation in which 94.5 percent of the public said they would support such a ban.