Will Scotland Be the First Part of the UK to Ban Wild-Animal Circuses?

Posted by on June 14, 2016 | Permalink

In a promising new development, the Scottish Government has just said that it is planning to ban archaic circus performances using wild animals.

Elephant Circus CC0

“The Scottish Government intends to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses”, a spokesperson for ministers said last week. “We are currently investigating the best mechanism for introducing legislation on ethical grounds and will make further announcements in due course.”

Last year, a public consultation on the issue in Scotland found that an overwhelming 98 per cent of respondents wanted a ban. Yet this is the first time that the government has confirmed openly that it plans to act on this clear mandate and make it illegal to force animals such as lions, elephants and zebras to perform absurd tricks.

Veterinary experts and animal-welfare groups agree that wild animals’ needs can never be adequately met in a travelling circus environment, and activists have documented deprived and frustrated lions and tigers pacing around their small cages when they were kept in “beast wagons” in Aberdeenshire over the winter. The sooner Scotland – and the rest of the UK – outlaws this deeply unethical form of entertainment, the better.

Of course, words are not the same as actions. Back in 2012, the Prime Minister made a similar promise about banning wild-animal circuses in England and Wales – but his government has been dithering ever since and has so far failed to bring any actual legislation to Parliament.

We’re hoping the government at Holyrood will do better! Please encourage Scottish politicians to bring in legislation against cruel circuses as soon as possible.