UK government introduces legislation to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses

Read Time:   |  2nd May 2019

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Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced the UK government has introduced a new law to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. 

uk bans animal circuses

Ministers have been promising to implement a ban for five years, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed in 2018 that new legislation would come into place by 19 January 2020.

Now Environment Secretary Micheal Gove has announced the introduction of a new bill that will ban the use of wild animals in UK circuses.

Wild animals are defined as animals that are not normally domesticated in Great Britain and would not naturally be found here such as elephants and big cats.

Mr 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.”

uk bans animal circuses

The government’s official website explains: “The use of wild animals in travelling circuses has no place in modern society and does nothing to further the conservation or our understanding of wild animals.”

However, whilst the move should be celebrated as The Wild Animals in Circuses Bill means that circus operators in England will no longer be able to use wild animals as part of a travelling circus, some of the animals that will still be allowed to perform include reindeer, zebras and camels.  Animals such as horses, donkeys and dogs which will still be allowed to perform under the new legislation will continue to be inspected regularly by officials.

David Bowles from the RSPCA said: “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.”

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