The use of wild animals in circus acts in Wales could be banned after the Welsh government said it was “exploring opportunities” to end the practice.
Labour’s rural affairs secretary in Cardiff, Lesley Griffiths, announced the move targeting touring performance shows, saying it was “important the welfare needs of their animals are not overlooked”.
Ms Griffiths said she “intended to learn” from ministers in Scotland, where a law passed last year to ban wild animals in travelling circuses, making the country the first in the UK to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.
She said officials would examine how the legislation was drafted there, saying that “ethical and welfare arguments for a ban” would be looked at before a similar law was introduced.
Campaign group Animal Defenders International welcomed the move, saying a ban was “long overdue”. Its president, Jan Creamer, told news outlet The Independent: “A wild animal circus ban in Wales is what the public demands and the animals need and we hope legislation will be passed swiftly.
“Travelling circuses simply cannot meet the needs of the animals, and legislation to end these outdated acts is long overdue.”
Investigations by the group in the past found that wild animals being held by circuses for acts in the UK and elsewhere were often “subjected to brutal training methods and violence”.
The use of wild animals in circus acts has already been outlawed in the Republic of Ireland since January.
Sadly, animal circuses are still legal in the UK, although a spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said last month the Government wanted to see “an end to the use of wild animals in travelling circuses” and that it would “legislate for a ban as soon as parliamentary time allows”.
You can help by calling on the government to put the legislation, that has been drafted for four years, before Parliament. Contact your MP and help make it happen: http://bit.ly/scs-uk-ireland.