Michael Gove belatedly bans circus animals in England from 2020

The UK government has introduced a Bill to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. It is called the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill. Today, 1st May 2019, Michael Gove the Environment Secretary has introduced this important new Bill. According to PETA it is long overdue and many other countries with reputations less esteemed than that of the UK concerning animal welfare have already banned wild animals in circuses e.g. Romania (a bad reputation re. animal welfare), Guatemala, Costa Rica etc..

Thomas Chipperfield and lion. Image: Rex.

“Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals in the 21st century and I am pleased that this legislation will put an end to this practice for good.

Today’s announcement follows other measures we have taken to strengthen our position as a world leader on animal protection. This includes our ban on ivory sales to protect elephants, and delivering Finn’s Law to strengthen the protection of service animals.”

Michael Gove UK Environment Secretary

Thought: Trophy hunters of iconic species can ship their trophy items to the UK as at the date of this post as I understand it. The UK is a world leader in animal welfare?

Wild animals in travelling circuses is an embarrassment for the citizens of the UK and I am pleased it is changing albeit too slowly.

According to PETA, 94% of Welsh and English citizens want a ban and a tiny minority of people would attend a circus with animals.

The Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity at the Born Free Foundation, Dr Chris Draper said:

“After years of waiting for this issue to be resolved, Born Free is delighted that Mr Gove will now bring this Bill forward. The use of wild animals in travelling circuses is outdated and unpopular, and this legislation will bring England into line with a long and increasing list of countries which have banned this practice. Born Free and its supporters have campaigned for a long time for this outcome and we look forward to the swift progress of the Bill through Parliament.”

Dr Chris Draper

The ban leads to further objectives. Some would say that it is hypocritical of the government to allow animals to be used for entertainment in other areas of our lives. What about Crufts and extreme dog breeding for instance? Some dog breeds are inherently unhealthy because they have been bred for appearance to entertain and to please us. Is this any different?

There is a strong argument that extreme selective breeding of dogs and cats should be banned too.

America has not banned animals in travelling circuses according to PETA. Is it not time? Twenty-six countries have introduced or implemented a ban on using wild animals in circuses. America should follow suit.

Note: It is my understanding that the UK government’s projected ban involves ‘travelling circuses’. I am not sure of the state of play regarding fixed circuses if there are any in England. This point needs to be cleared up and my initial research failed to provide an answer including the government’s website.

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