RSPCA Cymru has today welcomed the “fantastic news” that the Welsh Government intends to introduce a bill to ban the use of wild animals in circuses in Wales over the next 12 months.
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, made the announcement today (17 July) along with four other pieces of legislation that the Welsh Government intends to bring forward over the next year.
RSPCA Cymru has consistently campaigned on this issue for some two decades – with over 9,000 signing an RSPCA petition urging action. Polling, too, has consistently demonstrated a clear will for action – with 74% of people within Wales supporting a ban on wild animals performing in circuses*.
Claire Lawson, RSPCA Cymru assistant director of external relations, said: “This announcement is fantastic news and is something that we have needed to hear to ensure this ban is made into a reality.
“The RSPCA has campaigned for many years for a ban to be put in place – and we are delighted that this bill will be introduced over the next 12 months – it could not come soon enough. Wild animals have had their welfare compromised in the circus environment for far too long.
“Today marks another significant and exciting step forward in the campaign and we will continue to put the pressure on the Welsh Government as we do have a long way to go until this bill becomes law.”
The RSPCA has long highlighted how the welfare of wild animals based in such settings is likely to be heavily compromised. The transient nature of circuses – alongside cramped accommodation and forced training for animals – highlights how inappropriate they are for wild animals.
The Welsh Government’s announcement will ensure Wales becomes the latest country to introduce an outright ban on the practice of wild animals in circuses. Scotland’s ban came into effect on 28 May this year, measures have been promised in England when UK parliamentary time allows, and a ban came into effect in the Republic of Ireland on January 1st 2018.
The RSPCA – the largest animal welfare charity in the UK – works across England and Wales. Senior scientific manager and captive wild animals specialist at the RSPCA, Dr Ros Clubb, said: “The impact of circuses on wild animal welfare is serious and potentially debilitating for each and every wild animal involved. These animals are forced to endure the constant travel, cramped temporary cages, and noisy conditions of a circus.
“Keeping wild animals in circuses should be consigned to the history books and we look forward to the day that it is banned for good in Wales and hope that England will soon catch up.”