Friday, 2 March 2012

DEFRA announces plans to ban wild animals in circuses

The Government has confirmed its intention to pursue a ban on the use performing wild animals in travelling circuses in England on ethical grounds. However, this will take time. So Defra has also published a consultation in which we propose establishing a licensing scheme to protect the welfare of such animals in the meantime.

As we develop the details and legislative framework for the ban, the welfare of those wild animals currently in circuses is paramount, and for this reason we are consulting on a tough new licensing regime which we can put in place promptly.

For the licensing scheme, we intend to use powers that are already available in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This will allow us to make sure the welfare-based licensing scheme is considered by Parliament before it rises for the summer.

A public consultation exercise was launched on 1 March 2012 seeking views on Defra’s proposals to introduce a licensing scheme for travelling circuses in England that still use wild animals. Anyone responsible for a travelling circus that uses wild animals in a circus performance will need to hold a valid licence, meet strict welfare standards, prepare and follow plans for caring for every animal and have a retirement plan for each animal.

•Written Ministerial Statement (1 March 2012) setting out the Government’s position (PDF)
•Consultation on the proposed licensing scheme and how to respond
Responses to the consultation must be received by 25 April 2012.

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