Following on from Italy, Ireland and India two months ago, the Scottish government has announced that they will be banning the use of wild animals in circuses, making it the first country in the United Kingdom to do so.
The new legislation was passed on December 20 after a debate, with British animal welfare campaigners hoping that this will lead to England and Wales following on from their good example soon.
Source: Valery Hache
It was proposed by Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland's environment secretary, who said that they had made what counts as a 'wild animal' deliberately vague when writing the bill, so that courts will be able to protect as many animals as possible.
She said in a statement:
This is an important act that will not only prevent travelling circuses ever showing wild animals in Scotland in the future, but will demonstrate to the wider world that we are one of the growing number of countries that no longer condones the use of wild animals in this way.
Although there has been some criticism, saying that the bill doesn't do enough for other types of 'performance', such as greyhound racing, animal welfare groups have been celebrating the move as a step forward for Britain.
This news follows the massive controversy the British government caused after removing legislation saying that animals were sentient at the end of November. They later said that they would acknowledge this when rewriting laws after Brexit.
Elisa Allen, Peta's director, said:
These animals are understandably frustrated, stressed and depressed from a lifetime of being denied the opportunity to do anything that’s natural and important to them, kept caged in trailers that are hauled around the country, and forced to perform confusing tricks under the big top out of some Victorian-era sense of amusement.
Let’s hope the progress in Holyrood serves to light a fire under the government in Westminster, which, despite years of promising to bring in a ban, continues to sit back and do nothing as England falls further and further behind the growing number of countries putting a stop to these cruel institutions.
2017 has seen many countries, cities and states ban the use of wild animals in performances. We can only hope that this trend continues in 2018.
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