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Wild animals banned from travelling circuses in Wales

By Claire Hayhurst, PA

A law banning the use of wild animals in travelling circuses has been passed by the Welsh Parliament.

The Wild Animals and Circuses (Wales) Bill was approved in the Senedd on Wednesday, with 53 votes for and zero votes against.

It makes it an offence for a person who operates a travelling circus to use, cause or permit another person to use a wild animal in that circus in Wales.

A wild animal is defined as being used if it performs or is exhibited by the travelling circus. Anyone who breaches the law is liable to a fine.

The use of wild animals in visiting shows is already banned in England and Scotland.

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “This Bill will address the ethical concerns of people across Wales by banning the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

“The use of wild animals for entertainment in this way is outdated – wild animals are sentient beings with complex needs, and they should not be seen as commodities for our entertainment.

“I would like to thank all those who have contributed to getting the Bill to this stage, including Senedd committees and members for their consideration and scrutiny of the Bill, and the organisations and individuals who took time to provide evidence during scrutiny.”

The Bill was introduced just over a year ago, after thousands of people gave their views to a consultation.

There were more than 6,500 responses to the public consultation on the draft bill, with 97% supporting the introduction of a ban.

Claire Lawson, RSPCA assistant director for external relations in Wales, said: “This is an historic day for animals in Wales – with the spectre of wild animals being used in travelling circuses set to be consigned to the history books, once and for all.

“The RSPCA is proud to have long campaigned on this issue – and the strength of feeling in all corners of Wales was clear.

“We’re delighted this Welsh Government Bill has now passed its final legislative hurdle, making a hugely important statement concerning how policy in Wales matches societal norms and values towards our fellow living creatures.”

The ban will come into force on December 1, subject to Royal Assent.

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