Trav­el­ling cir­cuses

Argyllshire Advertiser - - Letters -

Sir, Lead­ing an­i­mal pro­tec­tion char­ity OneKind has called on the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment to pass a strong cir­cus bill that will end the use of wild an­i­mals in trav­el­ling cir­cuses in Scot­land.

The Wild An­i­mals in Trav­el­ling Cir­cuses (Scot­land) Bill is cur­rently mak­ing its way through the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment. The stage one de­bate on the Bill was ex­pected to take place on Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 5. MSPs were asked to ap­prove the Bill in prin­ci­ple and then there will be op­por­tu­ni­ties to amend and strengthen it. Once the Bill is passed, it will make Scot­land the first coun­try in the UK to im­ple­ment an out­right ban on wild an­i­mals in cir­cuses. The ban could be in place by Christ­mas.

It’s not so long since a tra­di­tional trav­el­ling cir­cus toured Scot­land with an aged, arthritic ele­phant, and it was a sad sight to see. As re­cently as 2015, there were two cir­cus lions and three tigers con­fined in cages on a farm near Fraser­burgh where they had spent the win­ter. This Bill in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment is the op­por­tu­nity to stop wild an­i­mals be­ing treated that way, in the name of en­ter­tain­ment.

A Scot­tish Govern­ment con­sul­ta­tion in 2014 showed the ma­jor­ity of the 2,034 peo­ple who re­sponded were in favour of ban­ning wild an­i­mals in cir­cuses in Scot­land. 98 per cent thought the use of wild an­i­mals for per­for­mance in trav­el­ling cir­cuses should be banned; and 96.4 per cent thought the use of wild an­i­mals in ex­hi­bi­tion (with­out per­form­ing) in trav­el­ling cir­cuses should be banned.

Only last week the Es­to­nian par­lia­ment passed a Bill to ban the use of wild an­i­mals in cir­cuses. Scot­land has the chance to join dozens of states around the world in show­ing com­mit­ment to an­i­mal wel­fare by ban­ning the use of wild an­i­mals in cir­cuses.

We earnestly hope that MSPs sup­port the Bill, al­low­ing it to pro­ceed for de­tailed con­sid­er­a­tion and amend­ments that will make it stronger. Libby An­der­son, OneKind pol­icy ad­viser.

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