Leading animal protection charity OneKind is today (Wednesday 20th December) celebrating as the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill has been passed.
The Bill was passed by unanimously following a debate at Holyrood.
Scotland is now the first country in the UK to introduce a ban on wild animals in circuses. Bans are already in place in at least 34 countries around the world, including 19 EU Member states.
OneKind Policy Advisor Libby Anderson said:
“After years of campaigning by OneKind, I’m delighted that Scotland has become the first country in the UK to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
“Today’s historic announcement means that never again will we have to see lions, tigers and elephants suffering in cramped trucks, being made to perform tricks purely for people’s entertainment.”
A Scottish Government consultation in 2014 showed overwhelming support for a ban of wild animals in circuses in Scotland. 98% of the 2,034 people who responded thought the use of wild animals for performance in travelling circuses should be banned, and 96.4% thought the use of wild animals in exhibition (without performing) in travelling circuses should be banned.
Whilst there are no circuses currently in Scotland with wild animals, there have been a number of recent cases. Up to 2011, the Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus visited Scotland every summer bringing an aged elephant called Anne. In late 2014, a big cat trainer moved to Scotland with two lions and three tigers. He kept the animals in a farm near Fraserburgh from October 2014 to June 2015, after which he moved the cats back to England to begin performances again.
“In many ways I wish this happened ten years ago when poor Anne the elephant was still touring Scotland with Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus, but I am still delighted with this Bill and what it represents; a willingness to use devolved powers to put Scotland ahead on animal protection. I hope that the rest of the UK follows suit and ends this cruel practice for good, and I hope this marks the beginning of more leadership on animal issues from Holyrood.”
Notes to editor:
- OneKind is a Scottish animal protection charity working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals.
- Poll of 1,009 Scottish adults carried out by YouGov on behalf of the More For Scotland’s Animals coalition, March 2016. https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/9wpe5barid/OneKindResults_March16_W.pdf