Scotland becomes first UK country to ban use of wild animals in travelling circuses

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said move shows the world Scotland 'respects' wild animals.

In a first, Scotland has become the first country in the UK to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

MSP’s backed the new law unanimously and Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said shows the world Scotland 'respects' wild animals and does not tolerate their use as a 'spectacle'.

According to Cunningham, the ban is a preventive measure on ethical grounds, given that such circuses 'rarely visit' Scotland now.

Cunningham went on to add that the move makes a clear statement to the world that the Scottish people respect the innate character of wild animals and will not tolerate their subjection to a nomadic lifestyle as a spectacle for entertainment.

She added that powers in the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill and associated guidelines will ensure the legislation is 'robust' as well as 'practical and easy to enforce'.

There was cross-party support for the ban which was first proposed more than a decade ago.

Conservative Donald Cameron said the law meant Scotland is 'catching up' with 18 other European countries and the ban is correct 'both on animal welfare and ethical grounds'.

Labour's David Stewart said his party supported the ban, adding that evidence shows travelling circuses cannot meet the needs of wild animals as they are subjected to confinement, transportation and training.

According to Green environment spokesman Mark Ruskell, the ban was a 'watershed moment', adding that he believed it is the first time ethical reasons have been used along with welfare evidence to effect change.

He said: 'It sets an important precedent for anyone concerned about the rights of animals.'

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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