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Scottish government to introduce a Wild Animals in Circuses Bill

The ISPCA welcomes the news that the Scottish government intends to introduce a Wild Animals in Circuses Bill. This decision was supported by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and BVA Scottish Branch President Grace Webster said,

“An opportunity to improve animal welfare has been presented and BVA commends the Scottish Government for seizing it. This is an issue that BVA has long campaigned on and, while it may not affect a great number of individual animals in the UK, the use of wild animals in travelling circuses is emblematic of the way we treat all animals under human care. The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus environment.”

This landmark decision leads the way in the UK for further bans in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and should encourage further engagement on the subject here in Ireland. The ISPCA has been campaigning for a similar nationwide ban since the launch of The Big Stop campaign in February 2016.

Recent developments on this issue include the release of the Welsh government report entitled ‘The welfare of wild animals in travelling circuses’ (read here) and the statement released by the Veterinary Ireland Animal Welfare Committee. The Veterinary Ireland statement found that,

“Veterinary Ireland is of the opinion that the physical and psychological needs of wild animals cannot be met in travelling circus environments.”

With the continual release of information and statements supporting a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, the ISPCA is renewing calls to the Irish government to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses nationwide, and consign this cruel and out-dated practice to the history books. 

ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said “The ISPCA launched its Big Stop campaign calling for a ban on wild animal circuses in Ireland on animal welfare and ethical grounds as travelling circuses cannot provide a suitable environment for wild animals such as tigers and elephants.   We believe that it is time for this out dated form of ‘entertainment’ to be consigned to the history books where it belongs.”

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