Li­cence scheme aims to ban cir­cuses from us­ing wild an­i­mals

Western Mail - - NEWS -

A BAN on wild an­i­mals in cir­cuses in Wales is mov­ing a step closer.

Wales has no per­ma­nent cir­cuses, but there has been con­cern about the wel­fare of an­i­mals be­ing used in vis­it­ing cir­cuses.

The Welsh Gov­ern­ment has now con­firmed it is “ex­plor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to bring for­ward leg­is­la­tion to ban the use of wild an­i­mals in cir­cuses in Wales”.

RSPCA Cymru has re­peat­edly urged peo­ple not to visit trav­el­ling cir­cuses be­cause they be­lieve the “com­plex needs” of wild an­i­mals can­not be “ad­e­quately met” in a cir­cus en­vi­ron­ment.

In 2015 Re­becca Evans, then Welsh Gov­ern­ment deputy min­is­ter for farm­ing and food, said that there was “no place for wild an­i­mals in cir­cuses”.

She said: “The time for cir­cuses cer­tainly seems to have gone, in terms of their en­ter­tain­ment or ed­u­ca­tional value.”

Cabi­net sec­re­tary Les­ley Grif­fiths has now said that a li­cens­ing scheme for mo­bile an­i­mal ex­hibits in Wales will be launched.

It cov­ers trav­el­ling fal­conry and hawk­ing dis­plays, ex­otic pets taken into schools, rein­deer at Christ­mas events and trav­el­ling cir­cuses.

She has said that of­fi­cials will be look­ing to Scot­land, where the first ban on the use of wild an­i­mals in trav­el­ling cir­cuses was passed.

The bill, which bans the use of non-do­mes­ti­cated an­i­mals for per­for­mance or ex­hi­bi­tion in trav­el­ling shows, does not ap­ply to static cir­cuses.

Mem­bers of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment unan­i­mously signed off the ban, the first of its kind in the UK in De­cem­ber.

The Irish Gov­ern­ment has also banned the use of wild an­i­mals in cir­cuses un­der a new reg­u­la­tion that came into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1, 2018.

Ms Grif­fiths said: “A full con­sul­ta­tion will be launched in 2018 and we will con­tinue to work closely with stake­hold­ers to en­sure we de­velop a li­cens­ing scheme which de­liv­ers a last­ing im­pact on an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards in Wales.

“It is im­por­tant the wel­fare needs of their an­i­mals are not over­looked.”

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