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The Government will listen to the view of the House of Commons and is sympathetic to the motion for a ban, agreed to on
Given that a ban is not an immediate possibility, we will proceed with the licensing regime described below, which will stop circuses from using wild animals unless they provide appropriate welfare standards. In the meantime, circus animals, like most animals under the control of man, are protected from unnecessary suffering and poor welfare by the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The licensing regime will lay down appropriate standards to protect the welfare of the 39 (approximately) animals in circuses in the UK. This means we will be able to act quickly to tackle those circuses that fail to maintain appropriate welfare standards for each animal. A full public consultation exercise on the proposed regulations will be carried out shortly.
Any circuses in England that wish to have wild animals such as tigers, lions and elephants performing in them will need to demonstrate that they meet high animal welfare standards for each animal before they can be granted a licence to keep those animals. The licensing scheme will be enforced through inspections by Government-approved vets and it is our intention that the costs will be borne by the industry.
As this work is under way, we will continue to explore ways of overcoming the legal obstacles of introducing a ban of live animals in line with the resolution of the House of Commons.