Only a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses can properly protect against welfare problems, say RSPCA Cymru.

The Welsh Government has announced the launch of a consultation in the New Year on a series of new proposals – including the introduction of a licensing scheme for circuses.

Regular transport, cramped housing, forced training and loud noises often prove an unavoidable reality for wild animals based within a circus setting. As such, RSPCA Cymru believes the only acceptable solution to protect the welfare of wild animals in a circus environment is to implement an outright ban on this practice.

Public support has shown to be overwhelmingly in favour of a ban, backed by 74 per cent* of the public. Some 8,500 people also signed a recent RSPCA Cymru petition demanding a ban be implemented in Wales.

Scientific research has consistently shown that travelling circus life is likely to have a harmful effect on animal welfare.

The Welsh Government, however, has also acknowledged that ‘Mobile Animal Exhibits’ are currently “not subject to any stringent licensing regime or routine inspection” – and the opportunity to improve regulation of these exhibits has been welcomed by the charity.

Martin Fidler Jones, political campaigns manager for RSPCA Cymru, said:

“RSPCA Cymru is crystal clear – wild animals should have no place in a circus environment, and the welfare problems they encounter in such a setting are vast. We’ve been fighting against this practice for over a decade, and will continue to do so.

“The Welsh Government’s own independent scientific report leaves no room for confusion that using wild animals in circuses is bad for welfare.

“Ministers have overwhelming public support and the majority of parties in the Senedd have called for a ban. Wild animals in circuses have no place in Wales and the Welsh Government needs to make a big, bold statement and bring forward proposals for a ban as soon as possible – so we’re frustrated that this is yet to happen.

“A new consultation does provide another opportunity to highlight the importance of a ban on the keeping of wild animals in Wales’ circuses but the people of Wales can’t wait forever.

“The acknowledgement that action is also required on Mobile Animal Exhibits is a positive one.

“The welfare of animals in these circumstances – like bringing animals to a school or birthday party – is at risk. We’ll work closely with the Welsh Government to ensure they are regulated, where appropriate, and the animals involved are given the protection they deserve.”

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