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Animal Welfare
Government to pursue a ban on wild animals in circuses

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THE Government has announced its intention to pursue a ban on the use of performing wild animals in travelling circuses in England.

In a written ministerial statement on March 1, Jim Paice, minister for agriculture and food, indicated that it would be looking at ways of introducing a ban on ethical grounds in the light of the conclusion of the 2007 Radford Report on circus animals, that there was insufficient scientific evidence to demonstrate that travelling circuses are unable to meet the welfare needs of wild animals presently being used in the UK (see VR, December 8, 2007, vol 161, p 768).

Defra consulted on various options for safeguarding the welfare of wild animals in travelling circuses in 2010 and, at the time, more than 90 per cent of respondents supported a ban on their use (VR, April 10, 2010, vol 166, p 445). A ban will require primary legislation, which the Government says it will seek to introduce ‘at the earliest opportunity’. In his statement, Mr Paice said that, while the details and legislative framework for a ban were being developed, …

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