Wild animals will be banned from all circuses in the UK, if a draft bill is accepted into law later this year.
Last month, Scotland passed legislation banning the use of wild animals in circuses, and now it looks as though the rest of the UK could be catching up.
There are already more than 40 countries with the ban and the UK government has been under pressure from animal rights groups and charities to introduce a similar ban.
A massive 94.5 percent of the public are in favour of banning wild animals in circuses, according to a recent UK Government consultation. Less said about the other 5.5 percent the better, I think.
However, despite the overwhelming support, up to now parliament has not passed such a law. Now, Environment Secretary Michael Gove is set to reintroduce a bill, previously introduced by former Prime Minister David Cameron.
According to the Daily Mail, there are 19 animals in travelling circuses in Britain - including three camels, a racoon and zebras.
Animal right charities say that although the numbers are low, there is currently nothing stopping circuses from increasing them whenever they want.
Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, has urged the government to follow through with its plans.
In a statement, she said: "Animal Defenders International welcomes the reports of government plans to finally put the ban on wild animals in circuses before Parliament.
"However, we remain cautious after so many broken promises over the years. 'When parliamentary time allows' has often, it seems, been code for 'it's not going to happen', yet the public wants an end to circus suffering and ADI's evidence has repeatedly shown that circus animals urgently need government action."
Professor Stephen Harris at Bristol University conducted a study on behalf of the Welsh Government in 2016, in which he concluded: "The available scientific evidence indicates that captive wild animals in circuses and other travelling animal shows do not achieve their optimal welfare requirements."
The report continued to say that 'life for wild animals in travelling circuses...does not appear to constitute either a good life or a life worth living.'
There has also been documented cases of circus staff treating the animals cruelly, including a case exposed by the Daily Mail of an elephant called Anne, who was beaten during her time at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus back in 2011. Thankfully, she was moved to Longleat Safari Park, where she is well looked after.
And Bobby Roberts, the circus boss, was found guilty of animal abuse. He was given a three-year conditional charge, but was not fined.
RSPCA wild animal specialist Dr Ros Clubb said of the ban: "We welcome this news - keeping wild animals in circuses should be consigned to the history books. A ban would finally put an end to dragging wild animals around the country with circuses in the name of entertainment and put England on a par with Ireland and Scotland."
Let's hope it's sooner rather than later.
Source: Daily Mail
Featured Image Credit: PA