(BVA Press Release) The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is calling on the Scottish Government to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. A consultation launched this week by the Scottish Government is asking whether the practice should be banned in Scotland.
A ban is expected in England by the end of 2015, following a campaign backed by the BVA, Born Free Foundation, Captive Animals’ Protection Society and RSPCA.
The BVA wrote to ministers in all three devolved nations, including Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead, early last year to call for proposed legislation in England to be extended to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
BVA President Robin Hargreaves said:
“We are pleased that people in Scotland will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on this important issue and we encourage them to do so.
“BVA vets have been quite clear that 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 strongly support a ban of wild animals in travelling circuses and would like to see all administrations in the United Kingdom ban this unethical practice.”
BVA Scottish Branch President Ronnie Soutar added:
“A travelling circus is no place for wild animals and their welfare is of grave concern. We urge the Scottish Government to do all it can to end this exploitation of animals and hope that this consultation will prove to be an important step towards a total ban of such performances in Scotland.”
The 12-week consultation was launched on 22 January 2014 by the Scottish Government Agriculture, Food and Rural Communities Directorate (Animal Health and Welfare Division).
The BVA will be officially responding to the consultation shortly, repeating its call for UK-wide ban. There are currently four travelling circuses using wild animals in England.
Although there are none based in Scotland at this time the BVA and other campaigners would like to see UK-wide legislation to prevent such performances moving to the devolved countries in the future.