Circus animal ban gains overwhelming support

Written by Tom Freeman on 26 June 2015 in News

Scottish Government urged to legislate after consultation reveals 98 per cent support for ban on circuses with performing animals

An overwhelming amount of Scots believe travelling circuses which use live animals should be banned in Scotland, according to a new Scottish Government report.

98 per cent of respondents to a government consultation thought circuses which use performing animals should be banned, while 96.4 per cent said those which use animals for only exhibition purposes should also be banned.

The analysis, published today, reveals the majority of respondents felt a ban would also have a positive effect on the ethics other industries which use animals such as the film and television industry.


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The consultation was set up following a 2012 draft bill to ban the use of wild animals in circuses on ethical grounds at Westminster, however there has been no progress across the UK.

Aberdeen MSP Kevin Stewart said he hoped the Scottish Government would move to legislate for a ban soon.

“We cannot afford for the rest of the UK to catch-up and if our Scottish Government does not introduce legislation in the near future then I will certainly consider introducing a Members’ Bill to ban this barbaric practice once and for all,” he said.

Libby Anderson, policy director at animal rights charity OneKind said: “Although Scotland has no resident circuses using wild animals, we have always warned that not banning these entertainments would simply leave the door open for them to set up here at any time.”

Anderson pointed to the example of a big cat circus trainer who moved his animals from England to a farm near Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire in late 2014. 

Aberdeenshire-based company Modo, which uses circus to engage young people in positive activity, says the use of animals gives circuses a bad name. Director Martin Danziger said: “Important as it is to stop wild animal use for moral reasons, its very existence also makes our work harder - we have to work harder to communicate the difference between two things that call themselves circuses, and to work to counter negative perceptions.”

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