03 JUL 2015

Wild Animals in Circuses

The Government remains fully committed to introducing a ban on wild animals in circuses. It supported the Private Member's Bill, the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, published by Jim Fitzpatrick MP in the last Parliament, to achieve this ban.

I hoped that this Bill could make the necessary progress before the end of the Parliament to pass into law. Unfortunately this was not possible due to a lack of parliamentary time. It would have been wrong to bring the Bill forward out of order, ahead of those sponsored by other MPs. Therefore, the Government is committed to introducing a ban in this new Parliament.

Currently, the ban stands to impact on two travelling circuses in England that now operate with only a small number of wild animals. Conditions of the remaining wild animals at both circuses are closely monitored under Defra's interim Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012, through regular announced and unannounced welfare inspections. This helps to ensure that any wild animals still used in circuses, before a ban kicks in, are subject the highest standards of animal welfare and care.

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