Circuses Banned From Making Wild Animals Perform In UK

by : Lucy Connolly on : 01 May 2019 18:14
Circuses banned from using wild animalsGetty

A new Bill has been announced which will ban circuses from using wild animals in their performances.

For centuries, circuses have kept wild animals such as zebras, camels, and reindeers in poor and unsanitary conditions while making them perform for the entertainment of the masses.


But the government intends to put a stop to this, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove today (May 1) announcing a new Bill to ban the use of wild animals in circuses across England.

Circus animalsGetty

The Wild Animals in Circuses Bill means that circus operators in England will no longer be able to use wild animals as part of a travelling circus, with the government saying this has ‘no place in modern society’.

In a statement provided by the government, Gove said:


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.

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 announcement follows a commitment from the government in February 2018 to introduce a ban by January 2020, when existing regulations expire.


At the time, The Independent reported 94.5 per cent of the public supported such a ban and animal rights groups have been campaigning for such a Bill to come into place for years.


Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley said:

I am pleased that today’s legislation will deliver on the ban that many welfare charities and parliamentarians have been calling for.

The general public can still enjoy a trip to the circus, but it is good to know that wild animals will no longer be a part of that experience.

A number of animal welfare charities who were campaigning for the ban have welcomed today’s news.

Animals in circusGetty

As per BBC Newsround, wild animals refer to animals that are not normally domesticated in Great Britain and would not naturally be found here.

David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs at the RSPCA said:

We really welcome the Government introducing a Bill to ban the outdated practice of using wild animals in circuses.

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.

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.

Although this ban only applies to wild animals, other domestic animals such as horses, donkeys, and dogs will be inspected regularly by officials.


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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, england, News, UK News


gov.uk and 2 others
  1. gov.uk

    Gove delivers legislation to ban wild animals in circuses

  2. The Independent

    Animals to be banned from English circuses

  3. BBC Newsround

    Wild animals to be 'banned from travelling circuses'