Published On: Wed, Feb 28th, 2018

UK Goverment are set to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses by 2020

The use of wild animals by travelling circuses will be banned from 2020, the Government has pledged, following a long-running campaign by animal welfare advocates to outlaw the practice. 

uk circus animal ban

The use of wild animals by travelling circuses will be banned from 2020, the Government has pledged, following a long-running campaign by animal welfare advocates to outlaw the practice.

Ministers have been promising to implement a ban for five years, but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed one will come into place by 19 January 2020.

The announcement was made at a review of the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012, that were introduced as an interim measure ahead of the ban.

“The current Regulations expire on 19 January 2020. The Government does not intend to renew the Regulations as it intends to ensure that a legislative ban is introduced by then. The Regulations will then be allowed to expire,” the report reads.

There are two remaining circuses in the UK with xwild animal licenses – Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus. Together they have 19 animals between them: six reindeer, four zebra, three camels, three racoons, a fox, a macaw and a zebu.

uk circus animal ban

Outdated act 

Activists have long accused circuses of beating, starving and keeping their animals in unsanitary conditions while they are made to perform for crowds.

Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, congratulated the government for keeping their promise.

“Having campaigned to stop circus suffering around the world for over 20 years, we’re delighted that a ban is finally imminent,” she said. “Circuses cannot meet the needs of animals in small, mobile accommodation and ADI has repeatedly documented suffering and abuse. We congratulate the UK Government on consigning this outdated act to the past where it belongs.”

The RSPCA’s David Bowles added: “The news that the Government has said there will be no wild animals in circuses in England after the 2019 season or earlier is very welcome and comes as a huge relief.

“It’s been a long-time coming. This announcement gives circuses a clear two-year warning that no more licences will be issued and after that there will be a ban on wild animals in circuses.

“The complex needs of wild animals can never be adequately met in a circus environment and regular transport, cramped and bare temporary housing, forced training and performance are all unavoidable realities for the animals.” Ireland and Scotland have recently passed similar bans. Plans for legislation are being discussed in Wales.

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