The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has strongly supported a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and is now calling on all the UK devolved administrations to introduce a ban on this unethical practice.
Commenting, BVA President Peter Jones, said:
“We are optimistic that primary legislation will soon be introduced in England but would very much like to see this to go one step further to become a UK-wide ban.
“We were delighted to hear that the Welsh Government has signalled its interest in being included in Defra’s proposed legislation. We were also pleased to learn that the Scottish Government intends to consult on a ban – and indeed that Defra has offered to extend the scope of its proposed legislation to cover Scotland.
“I gather that the Northern Ireland Minister will be assessing the available evidence in order to give detailed consideration to the issue.
“I have written to the Ministers in the devolved nations urging them to introduce legislation to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses either in conjunction with, or independently of, Defra as soon as legislative timetable allows.
“The welfare of these animals is emblematic of the way we treat all animals and we can see great merit in UK-wide legislation to ban this unethical practice without further delay.”
Mr Jones added:
“The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within the environment of a travelling circus, especially in terms of accommodation and the ability to express normal behaviour. We have been adamant that a licensing scheme will not address these issues.
“Together with the Born Free Foundation, Captive Animals’ Protection Society and the RSPCA, the BVA has for some time been urging the Government to do all it can to introduce a complete ban as quickly as possible to end the exploitation of these animals whose existence in the confines of a circus is solely to entertain people.”