In a move animal rights campaigners have been waiting years for, wild animals will finally be banned from circuses in Britain.
Following in the footsteps of other countries from around the world, a new bill is set to be introduced in Parliament, which will ban wild animals from performing in travelling circuses in England.
Animal welfare campaigners have long argued how forcing animals to perform in circuses is not only cruel, but is also crucially damaging to their health and at last, they’ve been listened to!
Last night, (7 January), the government welcomed a bill Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, is planning to reintroduce later this year.
Receiving widespread support from MPs, it’s an important move as the UK celebrates its 250th anniversary of British circuses.
The law will see England join the likes of the majority of European and Latin American countries, as well as several Asian nations, all of whom have already enforced the ban.
As reported by The Daily Mail, according to a government consultation, an astonishing 94.5 per cent of the public are in favour of the ban – it’s about time they caught up having so far failed to pass the law in England.
According to the RSPCA, there are currently 19 animals in travelling circuses across Britain including zebras, two reindeer, three camels, a raccoon, a fox, a macaw and a miniature zebu.
Although these numbers may sound low, these animals are still in captivity and nothing is being done to stop this from getting worse.
RSPCA wild animal specialist Dr Ros Clubb is delighted the ban is being introduced:
We welcome this news – keeping wild animals in circuses should be consigned to the history books.
A ban would finally put an end to dragging wild animals around the country with circuses in the name of entertainment and put England on a par with Ireland and Scotland.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs added:
The Government wants to see an end to the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and will legislate for a ban as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Although councils currently have the power to ban animal circuses from visiting their areas, only half of those in the UK actually follow this through.
There’s been much talk of the bill the past couple of years when David Cameron introduced it, during his time as Prime Minister.
However, its second reading was delayed last year thanks to the snap general election and since then, there’ve been no real plans to revive it until Gove stepped in.
The law will only affect England not covering Wales or Northern Ireland.
At the end of last year, Scotland introduced the ban, becoming the first of the UK nations to do so.
This inevitably piled the pressure onto the UK government, who are now set to follow suit.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.