midiamimesConfirmation: England to ban wild animals in circuses

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Circus lion (Photo: Born Free Foundation)Representatives from the Born Free Foundation, the British Veterinary Association, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society and the RSPCA have today welcomed confirmation from Government that a ban on the use of all wild animals in circuses in England will go ahead by the end of 2015.
In July, the groups had expressed concern over a report by the UK Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) select committee which made recommendations that any prohibition on animal use in circuses should be limited to a ban on big cats and elephants, while continuing to allow species such as zebras and snakes to be used. A spokesperson for the four organisations said at the time the report was released:
“To make this suggestion is to ignore the calls for a ban from the 94% of respondents to the 2010 public consultation on this matter, to dismiss the reams of evidence and opinion published in Hansard, and to overlook the outcome of dozens of hours of parliamentary debate, dating back to 2005 and earlier”.
Today, it has been confirmed by DEFRA Minister, Lord de Mauley, that the suggestion to limit the scope of the ban has been rejected by Government and that the ban will apply to all wild animals when introduced.
A spokesperson for the groups said today:
“We are relieved to hear that the Government has firmly rejected the opinion of the EFRA Committee on this matter, and that circuses will be prevented from using wild animals in performances from the end of 2015. The decision reflects the strong public and Parliamentary will on this issue; a travelling circus is no place for any wild animal. We will continue to work to ensure the best possible long-term outcome for the animals from the time that the ban is implemented”.
The groups also welcomed the indication that the proposed Bill to ban wild animals in circuses would include both England and Wales. The authorities in Scotland are believed to be intending to consult on the matter, while the Minister in Northern Ireland is engaged in discussions with colleagues in the Republic of Ireland on an all-island approach to wild animals in circuses.
Both the RSPCA and Born Free Foundation have offered to work with Defra and circus owners in advance of the ban to find suitable lifetime care solutions for any wild animals currently in use in circuses.
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Author: ENDCAP