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Wild animals in UK circuses: The suffering continues


© FOUR PAWS | Fred Dott

In the UK, it is still legal for circuses to use wild animals in their shows, a cruel and outdated practice which amounts to the animals being forced to perform tricks, spend their lives being transported up and down the country and crammed into tiny cages, all for the sake of entertainment. Often these circuses are not regulated or licensed, so there is no one monitoring the welfare of these animals.


The former Prime Minister David Cameron told the British public that a ban on wild animals in circuses would be enacted by January 2015, but it has still not been banned despite numerous attempts to put through Private Member’s Bills to this effect. The Bill was then dropped when this year’s General Election was called.

Scotland and Wales have taken things into their own hands

The Welsh Government is currently considering whether it should ban the use of wild animals in circuses, and whether circuses, and other mobile animal exhibits, should be licensed and regulated. This consultation process is open to the public, and you can join us in telling them why wild animals don’t belong in circuses. [Find out how you can get involved]


Fortunately, thanks to the tireless petitioning of animal welfare organisations like FOUR PAWS UK, and supporters like you, the Scottish Government has also announced its intention to ban the use of any wild animal in a travelling circus in Scotland.


The Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 10th May 2017 and is currently being considered by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee. We cannot rest until the Bill is enacted, as until then, wild animals can still be legally kept in these appalling conditions. You can follow the progress of the Bill here.

England is shockingly behind the times

In England, there are two licensed circuses with wild animals. Defra plan to review the licensing of animal establishments in England, and FOUR PAWS UK will be ready to argue the case for banning the use of all animals in circuses.