The Scottish Government has published the findings of a public consultation on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. The results clearly indicate that the Scottish public are strongly in favour of an outright ban – with 98% of respondents demanding an end to the practice.
I welcome these findings and strongly believe that a travelling circus is no place for a wild animal.
A vast body of evidence shows that travelling circuses do not offer a suitable living environment for wild animals. Too often the lives of these animals are blighted by unacceptable deprivation, confinement, and abuse.
The British Veterinary Association, while formally backing a ban, has stated: “the welfare of these animals is emblematic of the way we treat all animals under the care of humans. The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus – in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour.”
The Labour Party firmly believes that animals should not be subjected to the unacceptable conditions of circus life. We have been a strong advocate for introducing a ban (we made it a manifesto promise at the General Election), and we will continue to campaign hard to bring an end to this cruel practice.
With a clear mandate from the Scottish people, support from professional organisations, and a strong evidence-base, it is time for the Scottish Government to take decisive action to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.