One thing Brits adamantly share the same view on is animal welfare, determined to curb cruelty, a new Bill has been announced which will ban circuses from using wild animals in their performances.
Circuses across the UK have been performing for centuries, keeping wildlife such as zebra, camels, elephants and big cats – mostly tigers and lions in the most unsanitary, poor conditions, hauling them across the country, making them perform for the masses on stage, under bright lights.
May the 1st marked a new era for animals travelling in circuses. UK Environmental Secretary Michael Gove announced a bill which bans the use of wild animals in circuses.
This bill bans wild animals in circuses throughout the territory of the United Kingdom.
“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,” Mr. Gove said as quoted by the government’s press office.
Gove’s colleague, 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.”
This development has sparked positive reactions around the world.
Dr Chris Draper, Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity at the Born Free Foundation commented:
“After years of waiting for this issue to be resolved, Born Free is delighted that Mr Gove will now bring this Bill forward.
The use of wild animals in travelling circuses is outdated and unpopular, and this legislation will bring England into line with a long and increasing list of countries which have banned this practice.
Born Free and its supporters have campaigned for a long time for this outcome and we look forward to the swift progress of the Bill through Parliament.”
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, UK’s largest animal welfare charity was overjoyed with the news, its chief of press, David Bowles stating:
“We really welcome the Government introducing a Bill to ban the outdated practice of using wild animals in circuses.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.”
The Animal Defenders International (ADI) released an official statement with its president, Jan Creamer commenting:
“We are delighted and relieved that the UK Government is bringing in its promised legislation to ban wild animals in circuses.
Animal Defenders International has documented suffering and abuse in UK circuses for more than 20 years and this long-awaited measure will stop circus suffering in England, and take us another step closer to the UK-wide ban the public want and the animals need.”
Few organizations outshine the British Veterinary Association when it comes to the concern for animal welfare, with Simon Doherty, their president openly displaying his satisfaction for the ban which could not have come sooner:
“We are delighted to see this coming into law following a long and sustained campaign and a huge groundswell of public support. While this issue may not affect a great number of individual animals, a ban is emblematic of how we should be treating animals in modern world”.
Sadly, the ban only applies to the use of wild animals in circuses in the UK, meaning that animals such as horses, donkeys, dogs and cats are still legal, but vets and animal welfare experts will closely be monitoring them and the conditions they’re kept in.
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