RSPCA Cymru has welcomed moves in Scotland to introduce a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and is calling on the Welsh Government to follow suit.

The complex needs of wild animals can never be adequately met in a circus environment and regular transport, cramped and bare temporary housing, forced training and performance are all unavoidable realities for the animals.

RSPCA Cymru has long campaigned for a ban of the use of wild animals in circuses and in October 2015, the charity handed in a 7,900 signature petition to the National Assembly for Wales’ Petitions Committee which called upon the Welsh Government to introduce a long-awaited ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

Circuses logo LOW resSince then the Welsh Government commissioned a review which concluded that scientific evidence supports a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses on animal welfare grounds.

The report, which involved consultation with 658 experts and organisations around the world and collated and reviewed 1700 sources of information, concluded that all five of the ‘freedoms’ are compromised in travelling circuses and mobile zoos and that life for wild animals in travelling circuses and mobile zoos does not appear to constitute either a ‘good life’ or a ‘life worth living’.

RSPCA’s senior scientific officer, and captive wild animals specialist, Dr Ros Clubb said: “We are currently awaiting to hear what steps the Welsh Government are planning to take now they have received the results of their commissioned review on this issue.

“We really do hope that now Scotland plan to bring forward a ban Wales can follow suit and be the next UK nation to bring in this important legislation to put an end to dragging wild animals around the country with circuses in the name of entertainment.”

To help us keep up the pressure on the newly elected Welsh Government – you can sign our petition! Please visit http://goo.gl/z1bQrP

If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message). We are a charity and rely on public donations to exist.

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To view the Welsh Government’s Written Statement on this please visit: http://gov.wales/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2016-new/circusanimals/?lang=en

A poll commissioned by RSPCA Cymru found that 74 percent of the public support a ban on wild animals performing in circuses in Wales after hearing that other European countries have banned animal performances in circuses. [All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1036 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th - 22nd August 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Welsh adults (aged 18+)]

The RSPCA is also campaigning for a ban of circuses with wild animals in England which is the responsibility of the UK Government.

The RSPCA does not believe that the licensing regime in England is sufficient to ensure the welfare of animals used in circuses is safeguarded, that is why we have been calling for the withdrawal of the licensing system in England – for it to be replaced with an outright ban. Standards for circuses with wild animals are lower than those for zoos holding the same animals.

European neighbours Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia as well as several countries further afield (Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Israel, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore) have all successfully banned the use of wild animals in circuses. 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.

The five freedoms referred to in the report stem from the five welfare needs in the Animal Welfare Act.