Scotland Bans Wild-Animal Circuses

The country becomes the first to introduce legislation of this kind in the United Kingdom.

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Members of Scottish Parliament (MSP) unanimously voted this week to ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses across Scotland. “This is an important act that will not only prevent travelling circuses ever showing wild animals in Scotland in the future,” Scotland’s Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said, “but will demonstrate to the wider world that we are one of the growing number of countries that no longer condones the use of wild animals in this way.” Cunningham said that while traveling circuses rarely visit Scotland, the ban serves as “a preventative measure based on ethical concerns.” The new legislation was introduced in May after a public poll revealed that 98 percent of Scottish citizens did not support the use of wild animals in circuses. The ban does not apply to static circuses, but several MSPs voiced their hopes that a similar ban will soon be signed to remove those animals from exploitation. Similarly, the Republic of Ireland will implement a similar ban starting January 1. Ireland and Scotland join a growing list of countries, including Mexico, Greece, and Iran, to impose bans of exploiting wild animals for entertainment in circuses.