Stop Circus Suffering

Scottish Parliament passes wild animal circus ban!

Animal Defenders International (ADI) congratulates the Scottish Parliament for being the first nation in the UK to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

MSPs today unanimously voted through the ban at the final Stage 3 debate for The Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill, which now awaits Royal Assent.

The Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill was introduced in May 2017 following a government consultation, held in January 2014 but the findings of which were not published until June 2015, which revealed a huge distaste for such acts amongst the public. 98% of respondents backed a ban, mirroring the findings of a similar consultation undertaken by the UK Government, and public opinion polls in Scotland and the UK over many years, demonstrating the continuing and overwhelming opposition there is to these outdated acts.

Although there are currently no wild animal circuses based in Scotland they have visited in the past. There was an outcry when Thomas Chipperfield brought his lions and tigers to overwinter at a farm near Fraserburgh in 2014, ADI revealing the conditions in which the animals were forced to live. Prevented from performing in England over welfare failings, the big cat circus trainer subsequently toured Wales and has since remained at a fixed location in Staffordshire where ADI has again documented the animals living in cages on the back of a truck, with restricted access to an exercise area.

Given the constant travel and their temporary nature, circuses cannot provide animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy. Welfare is inevitably compromised. Animals in circuses can also be subjected to brutal training methods and violence – wherever ADI has conducted an undercover investigation in the UK and around the world it has documented acts of abuse.

More than 40 countries around the world have introduced prohibitions on animals in circuses to date and opinion polls consistently show that the public remains overwhelmingly opposed to wild animal acts, with a high proportion against all animal acts.

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