The new Welsh government’s Bill will ban the cruel entertainment
The move is supported by Animal Defenders International (ADI), who have been watching closely and documenting the suffering of animals in British circuses for the last 20 years.
Last July, the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, vouched that Wales will ban the use of wild animals in circuses, with the Welsh Government stating that “The way animals are treated is an important reflection of society and over the next 12 months, a bill will be introduced to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses on welfare grounds”.
Now, as of the 8th July, the new Welsh Government introduced this promised Bill, that will set about to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
Accounts of the mistreatment of animals include Peter Jolly’s Circus, where ADI reported horrific overcrowding, fighting between animals, circus workers teasing a camel, inadequate freedom with animals kept inside for days on end, and the neglect to conform with government regulations. In a similar case, Thomas Chipperfield’s circus was reported to have big cats living on the back of a truck in cages and animals shut behind metal shutters at night, again with limited access to outside space. However, since 2017, the Chipperfield circus has been refused a licence by Defra, so has been off the road since its 2015 tour of Wales.
The Scottish Government has already banned these cruel circuses and England is setting out a ban by January 2020, which is currently progressing through parliament. In addition to this, a public consultation on the proposed law showed that 97% of the public agreed that the use of animals in British circuses is unacceptable. The new Bill will see an end to the use of animals such as camels, zebra and reindeer in travelling circuses.
The President of Animal Defenders International, Jan Creamer commented: “After years of waiting, and documenting the suffering of animals in British circuses, Animal Defenders International is delighted to see action finally being taken to stop circus suffering in Wales.”
Whilst, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffith commented: “The introduction of this Bill sends a clear message this Government and the people of Wales believe this practice to be outdated and ethically unacceptable.”
There are only two wild animal circuses that now tour the UK however, they regularly visit Wales, each time with a renewed call to ban them.