I welcome the announcement by the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, of a new Bill that would ban wild animals in travelling circuses.
This is an issue that I have campaigned about many times in the past, as I strongly believe it to be an affront to animal welfare and human decency. There are umpteen problems with this practice, and I am pleased that it has eventually been proposed as a substantial Bill that will go into law in 2020.
Although ‘licensed’, the majority of these animals were illicitly obtained, ripped from their natural environment at the beginning of the supply chain. Travelling animals are subject to frequent transport, often chained in a ‘beast wagon’ or in a chain when not performing. This causes significant psychological distress, and deprives wonderful creatures of the freedom, stimulation and welfare that they would have had if not stolen from their natural habitats. The Welsh Government compiled a report that have linked travelling circus life to myriad health and behavioural problems for animals.
Although late, it is encouraging that these wild animals (who cannot be domesticated) will be protected from the torment and misery of living purely to entertain, and free from the control of those who put profit above animal welfare.