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Wild animals in circuses ban ‘contentious’

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By Josh Loeb

Defra has confirmed that it will draw up clear guidance to help define the word ‘circus’ after peers warned of ‘unintended consequences’ arising from a nascent ban on using wild animals in circuses.

Lord Gardiner, an under secretary of state at Defra, said the guidance would be published by 20 November this year – two months before the proposed ban on wild animals performing in travelling circuses comes into effect in England.

The government is introducing the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, which last month passed its second reading in the House of Lords, on ethical grounds rather than because of any evidence of existing welfare harms that such a ban would remedy.

Critics fear this could set a precedent, opening the door to future bans on other types of activities involving animals such as falconry displays …

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