News and blog News BREAKING: Scottish Government publishes Bill to ban wild animals in circuses Thursday, May 11th 2017 Freedom for Animals, along with campaign partners, have welcomed publication of the Scottish Government Bill to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland, along with proposals to review performing animal regulations. The Bill covers all non-domesticated animals travelling and performing in circuses, and any form of display or exhibition in static premises such as winter quarters. A Scottish Government consultation in 2014 produced an overwhelming response in favour of banning wild animal circuses in Scotland. Out of 2,043 responses, 98% thought the use of wild animals for performance in travelling circuses should be banned; and 96.4% thought the use of wild animals for exhibition (without performing) in travelling circuses should be banned. Both aspects are covered in the Bill. The most recent Scottish poll, carried out for the More for Scotland’s Animals coalition in March 2016, found that 75% of those polled supported an end to the use of wild animals in circuses, rising to 78% in the 18-24 age group. The ban will be made on ethical grounds reflecting respect for animals and their natural behaviours. The same approach was taken when the Scottish Parliament banned fur farming in 2002. Nicola O’Brien, Campaigns Director of Freedom for Animals, commented: With 98% of consultation respondents stating wild animals in circuses should be banned, we applaud the Scottish Government for listening to the public by making this historic decision. Scotland has not only taken action to protect animals within its borders but also paved the way for the rest of the UK to follow. A joined-up approach across the union is needed to ensure wild animals are truly free from exploitation in circuses. The Scottish Government seeks to achieve early passage of the Bill in order to establish that wild animal circuses are not welcome or permitted in Scotland. Until the legislation is in place there is a risk travelling circuses could bring wild animals to Scotland. The call to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland gained overwhelming public support following an outcry as Thomas Chipperfield brought two lions and three tigers to overwinter at a farm near Fraserburgh in 2014. Animal Defenders International, Born Free Foundation, Freedom for Animals and OneKind are urging Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to support the Bill when it comes before them. A ban on wild animal circuses featured in the manifestos of the SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Green parties for the 2016 election and the issue is widely regarded as unfinished business. Once passed, the legislation will be the first outright ban on wild animal circuses anywhere in the UK, joining 18 European countries, and 35 around the world, with restrictions in place – and more in the pipeline. The animal protection groups have concerns about other forms of entertainment using animals, such as reindeer displays, bird of prey exhibitions in shopping centres, and mobile zoos and animal handling parties. The organisations have welcomed a commitment from the Scottish Government today to address these activities and are calling for this review to progress in parallel with the circus bill.