Licence scheme aims to ban circuses from using wild animals
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.”