The First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones announced today that the Welsh Government will ban the use of wild animals in circuses. In a statement released this morning, the Welsh Government said: “the way animals are treated is an important reflection of society and over the next 12 months, a bill will be introduced to ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses on welfare grounds.”

The Welsh Government first committed to banning wild animals in circuses back in 2013, stating that it would seek an extension to draft legislation published for England by the UK Government. The UK Government finally committed to the bill in February this year, to act by January 2020. 45 countries from around the world have already introduced prohibitions on animals in circuses, including Scotland and Ireland, and we are excited that Wales is joining this group of compassionate nations.

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Thanks to the changing attitudes and awareness of animal suffering by the British public, the number of circuses using wild animals in their performances has plummeted throughout Britain. The only two remaining are Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus, which are licensed in England and tour Wales. A third circus with big cats also performed in Wales when owner Thomas Chipperfield was unable to obtain a license in England, but has thankfully remained off the road since.

This news from Wales has been welcomed by animal supporters across the world, including ADI. Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International, said: “We congratulate the Welsh Government for taking a stand to stop circus suffering in Wales and bringing a UK-wide ban one step closer.”

Circus animals are kept in cramped conditions, tend to be trained using cruel methods including the use of bullhooks, and are usually emaciated and dehydrated. Their lives and mental wellbeing are so much more important than a few fun hours of entertainment for us.

So here is what you can do to help turn the tide on the use of wild animals in circus performances. Raise awareness of the conditions these animals are kept in and the impact that it has on their health. Boycott circuses that use wild animals altogether, and opt for animal-free entertainment. Join peaceful protests, sign petitions, and above all else, raise your voice for those animals that can’t.

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Image Source: Becky Phan/Unsplash