Wild Animals in Circuses

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written statement – made on 16th April 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Heath David Heath The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I have today published a draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny.

In line with previous ministerial written statements on 1 March 2012, Hansard, column 41WS, and 12 July 2012, Hansard, column 43WS, we are today fulfilling our commitment to publish draft legislation this parliamentary Session that sets out a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in England.

Wild animals, for the purposes of the draft Bill, are defined as any animal belonging to a kind that is not normally domesticated in Great Britain.

The Government have already introduced the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012 to safeguard the welfare of wild animals still in use in travelling circuses in England.

The draft Bill makes it an offence for any circus operator to use a wild animal in performance or exhibition in a travelling circus in England. The Government propose to give circus operators until 1 December 2015 to remove any wild animals from their circus before the offence comes into force.

This “grace period” is to allow operators of travelling circuses a reasonable period of time to adapt their businesses and organise suitable care arrangements for their wild animals.

Copies of the draft Bill are available in the Vote Office.