Members of the Senedd have unanimously backed the general principles of a law which will ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Wales. 

A vote took place on the floor of the Welsh Parliament yesterday evening (7 January), with all Members in favour – meaning a ban on the “out-dated practice” draws ever nearer.

RSPCA Cymru has long led the campaign to outlaw the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Wales – with the country now one step closer to joining 45 others across the world who have taken some action on the issue.

Travelling circus life severely compromises the welfare of wild animals. Confinement, stressful transportation, forced training and abnormal social groupings are all a grim reality for the animals – highlighting why this out-dated spectacle needs to be consigned to the history books.

Politicians from across the political spectrum highlighted RSPCA calls to further improve the legislation – including removing potential loopholes, tightening enforcement provisions and bringing the law into force sooner.

The animal welfare charity has labelled this latest development “great news for animals”, as it plans to continue working with decision-makers as the Bill continues its legislative journey.

Dr Ros Clubb, RSPCA senior scientific manager specialising in captive wild animals, said: “This vote was great news for animals – with the spectre of wild animals in travelling circuses one step closer to being consigned to Wales’ history books.

“The transient nature of these circuses make things so difficult for the animals. Forced training, unsuitable accommodation, difficult journeys and unnatural social groupings all likely compromise their welfare and are a source of stress.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who has backed the RSPCA’s long-standing campaign on this issue. It will make such a powerful statement when this out-dated practice is finally brought to an end in Wales.

“It was also great to see politicians from across the political spectrum highlight RSPCA suggestions to further improve this important law. We look forward to continuing to work with the Welsh Government and Members of the Senedd to ensure this ban is as effective as possible, and comes into force as soon as possible.”

A video was launched earlier this year, highlighting the longevity of the RSPCA’s campaign, and the importance of the public’s support. The RSPCA’s campaign has incorporated numerous consultation responses, scientific papers, briefings, polling, public-facing events, street stalls, campaign actions and more.

Some 9,000 people previously backed an RSPCA Cymru petition calling for action – which paved the way for the Welsh Government to commission an independent review of evidence related to animal welfare of animals used in travelling and non-travelling circuses. This found that life in a travelling circus was not a “good life” nor a “life worth living” for wild animals.