The use of wild animals in travelling circuses is banned in Wales from today (December 1).
Under the Wild Animals and Circuses (Wales) Act, it is now an offence for wild animals to be ‘performed or exhibited’ in a travelling circus in Wales.
The RSPCA has campaigned for years for the ban – with the relevant powers to do this devolved some 14 years ago.
Wales has now joined 45 other countries, nations and states across the world that have taken action on the use of wild animals in the circus environment.
The animal charity believes travelling circus life is totally unsuitable for wild animals. It says ‘cramped accommodation, unnatural social groups and forced training often a grim reality for the animals involved, placing their welfare at significant risk’.
Public support for a ban in Wales has been strong, with 74% of people backing a ban on wild animals performing in circuses and about 9,000 signing an RSPCA Cymru petition calling for action.
David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs, said: “Clearly, this is an historic day for animal welfare in Wales and concludes a campaign we have worked on for many, many years.
“We’ve had overwhelming public support for this campaign – and the voice of those supporters was so important in helping secure this legislation, which means the spectre of wild animals being performed or exhibited in travelling circuses in Wales is finally, once and for all, consigned to the history books. It’s a great advert for what we can achieve together for animal welfare.”