Press release

Circus update: plan to ban wild animals progresses

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

In March, the Government confirmed its intention to ban the use of performing wild animals in circuses.

We are now working on a draft Bill to achieve a ban.  Until the ban comes into force, we are introducing a tough licensing scheme which would ensure the welfare of wild animals.

Today the Government laid the new licensing regulations for Parliamentary approval which would mean that circuses wanting to use wild animals in their performances will soon need a licence. To obtain a licence, circus owners will have to fulfil strict welfare requirements, such as only allowing access to wild animals to people with appropriate knowledge and skills and keeping the animals in an appropriate environment. More information about how and when circus owners should apply for these licences will be made available shortly.

The consultation showed support from respondents for the licensing scheme and we received 236 responses in total. A breakdown of these responses can be accessed here.