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Wild animals in travelling circuses

We published draft legislation - the draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, on 16 April 2013. The draft bill sets out a ban on the use of all wild animals in travelling circuses in England.

We published a written ministerial statement explaining the draft bill and also an impact assessment setting out the costs and benefits of the options considered.

The House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has subjected the bill to pre-legislative scrutiny. This involved the committee gathering evidence from experts and publishing a report about the draft bill.

The committee issued its report on 9 July and published the government’s response.

Anyone in England operating a travelling circus with wild animals must still apply for and receive a licence under the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012.

The regulations ensure that if a travelling circus continues to use wild animals before a ban can take effect, they will be subject to regular inspections to check they’re meeting strict licensing conditions and welfare standards.

The regulations are made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The act continues to apply in full, including the duty of care that applies to owners of animals as well as the offence making it illegal to cause an animal to suffer unnecessarily.

The Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 requires all those training and exhibiting such animals to be registered with the appropriate local authority.

Further information

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