The RSPCA are urging members of the public to vote with their feet and give a circus that has come to town in Buckley a miss.

The animal welfare charity has long been pushing for a complete ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

Due to their dependency on regular travel, circuses cannot provide the sizeable and complex living conditions that are required for animals traditionally used in this way such as lions, zebras and tigers.

RSPCA Cymru head of external affairs, Claire Lawson said: “The impact of circuses on animal welfare is serious and potentially debilitating for each and every animal involved. Animals are forced to endure the constant travel, cramped temporary cages, and noisy conditions of a circus.

“We’ve been campaigning for a complete end to the use of wild animals in circuses for over a decade and are supported by the overwhelming majority of the Welsh public on the issue.

“The Welsh Government acknowledges the strong support which exists for a ban, and has invited the UK Government to legislate on their behalf on the issue.

“We will continue to urge action to be taken at Westminster, but should delays continue, it may be time for the Welsh Government to bring forward their own proposals so circuses like the one in Buckley are finally brought to a long overdue end.”

● Research shows that the conditions necessary to meet the welfare needs of animals such as elephants, tigers and lions are simply not feasible in circuses – which by their very nature involve almost constant travelling during most of the year.

● The wild animals are transported in beastwagons, which are restricted to the maximum size of a lorry permitted on roads. They are housed in small, barren temporary enclosures for 90-99 per cent per cent of the day which are, on average, about 1/4 of the size of those recommended in zoos. Some animals are simply tethered to a peg on the ground – unable to move a few metres or to socialise with others.

● Loading and transport, which are well known stressful events even for experienced animals, occur on a weekly basis for the 5-10 months circuses travel around the country. Researchers granted access to circuses have reported high levels of behaviour in animals being transported indicative of welfare problems – such as tigers pacing back and forth and elephants weaving from side to side.

● European neighbours Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia as well as several countries further afield (Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Israel, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore) have all successfully banned the use of wild animals in circuses. Malta, Slovakia, India, Czech Republic, Sweden, Hungary, Finland, Ecuador and Denmark also have imposed bans on key species and Portugal has banned circuses breeding their existing wild animals or acquiring any new ones. Estonia and Poland have banned the use of all wild-caught animals.

● Polling from 2006 suggested 76 per cent of the Welsh general public supported a ban, and indications suggest public opinion has strengthened further in recent years.

For more information about the campaign in Wales please visit:
www.rspca.org.uk/wales