The Born Free Foundation, British Veterinary Association, Captive Animals’ Protection Society and us have welcomed the Government’s draft legislation to ban the use of wild animals in circuses in England, to be implemented in 2015.

We and all the groups, who have worked closely together for a number of years on the campaign to seek an end to the use of wild animals in big tops in the UK, have said how“delighted” we are to see the ban brought forward in concrete terms.

A spokesperson, talking on behalf of all the leading organisations said:

“We are pleased to see that the Government appear to have come good on their promise to ban the outdated practice of using wild animals in circuses.

“We have long argued that the complex needs of wild animals cannot be met in a travelling circus environment and were disappointed when the Government introduced a licensing regime earlier this year which appeared to legitimise a practice which we, and our hundreds of thousands of supporters, want to see abolished altogether.

“We are looking forward to seeing the ban fully implemented at the earliest opportunity.”

We and the other groups have said that we would work to support Government in the formal enactment of the Bill, and we and the Born Free Foundation reiterated our pledge to offer to find safe homes for life for all wild animals currently being used in English circuses.

RSPCA Chief Executive Gavin Grant said:

“At long last there is a positive end in sight for wild animals in circuses in England.

“We are delighted that the government have finally put a definite deadline for an end to this outdated practise of dragging animals such as lions, zebras and tigers around the country for our entertainment.

“Two years is still a long time for the animals forced to endure the constant travel, cramped temporary cages, and noisy conditions of a circus. The licensing scheme that is running in the meantime is not good enough to safeguard the welfare of these majestic animals. But at least it is the beginning of the end now.

“It is important that the animals currently in the circuses are given a proper retirement plan and found good homes to go to. The RSPCA stands ready to help circuses with this if needed.”

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