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UK Government to Ban Wild Animal Circuses by 2020

The UK Government are to ban wild animal circuses by January 2020, following bans in Ireland and Scotland, and talks are underway in Wales to bring in similar bans. This is the resolution to the decades of promises by the UK Government and 20 years of campaigning and investigations by Animal Defenders International (ADI).

Jan Creamer, President of ADI said: “Having campaigned to stop circus suffering around the world for over 20 years, we’re delighted that a ban is finally imminent. Circuses cannot meet the needs of animals in small, mobile accommodation and ADI has repeatedly documented suffering and abuse. We congratulate the UK Government on consigning this outdated act to the past where it belongs.”

The announcement was made in the Post Implementation Review of the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012. Investigations carried out by ADI and other animal welfare groups of traveling circuses with wild animals oppose the regulations as trained inspectors are unlikely to detect husbandry issues or physical abuse, which was found through the investigations.

The review by Defra states: “The current Regulations expire on 19 January 2020. The Government does not intend to renew the Regulations as it intends to ensure that a legislative ban is introduced by then. The Regulations will then be allowed to expire”.

A ban on wild animal circuses was promised by the Labour Government under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, but was never implemented. A public consultation was held following the abuse of three elephants at the Great British Circus in 2009, exposed by ADI, and the results published in 2010 showed that 94.5 per cent of people supported a ban on wild animal acts. This resulted in a commitment from the Labour Government, before the General Election resulted in a Coalition Government.

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