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UK Government To Ban Use Of Wild Animals In Travelling Circuses

UK Government To Ban Use Of Wild Animals In Travelling Circuses

In news that feels like it should have already happened, the UK government has banned circuses from using wild animals in performances.

The ruling will come into effect from next year and will mean that travelling circuses will no longer be able to use wild animals, such as reindeer, zebras and camels, for their acts in England.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced the new bill on Wednesday, after an earlier survey found that 95.4 per cent of the public were in support of the ban.

A Giraffe stands in its enclosure at the Circus Voyage in Munich, Germany. Credit: PA
A Giraffe stands in its enclosure at the Circus Voyage in Munich, Germany. Credit: PA
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"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," Mr Gove said in a statement.

"Today's announcement follows other measures we have taken to strengthen our position as a world leader on animal protection. This includes our ban on ivory sales to protect elephants, and delivering Finn's Law to strengthen the protection of service animals."

The new circus show from Arlette Gruss. Credit: PA
The new circus show from Arlette Gruss. Credit: PA

The move has been welcomed by the animal rights groups, who have campaigned for years to stop the use of wild animals in circuses.

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"We really welcome the Government introducing a Bill to ban the outdated practice of using wild animals in circuses," said David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA.

"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.

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"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."

Lions from Circus Krone lie in the outside enclosure. Credit: PA
Lions from Circus Krone lie in the outside enclosure. Credit: PA
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Just two circuses in England have wild animal licences - Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly's circus - which, according to Metro, together own 19 animals, including reindeer, zebra, camels, raccoons, a fox, a macaw, and a zebu.

But both circuses say they care for the animals correctly, and deny that they are wild.

The government first announced the bill would come into play by 2020 in February 2018, but we now know it'll go into effect in England from January 2020.

Scotland already does not allow the use of wild animals in circuses, and Wales is expected to employ a ban in the coming months. Northern Ireland's ban has been put on hold due to the collapse of the power-sharing government.

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Artists perform at the opening of the 30th Monte Carlo Circus Festival in Monaco. Credit: PA
Artists perform at the opening of the 30th Monte Carlo Circus Festival in Monaco. Credit: PA

The ban only applies to wild animals meaning domestic animals, such as donkeys and horses may still be able to used.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Life News, News, Animals

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Rachel Andrews

Rachel Andrews is an NCTJ trained Journalist at PRETTY52. She specialises in Fashion and Beauty Journalism, and has experience at a range of online and print publications and joined the team in 2017. Contact her - [email protected]