Yesterday, the Wild Animals and Circuses (Wales) Bill gained cross-party support in the National Assembly for Wales, bringing Wales one step closer to banning wild animals in travelling circuses.

Assembly Members agreed the general principle of the bill without objection. Similar bans are already in effect in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, with a ban in England coming into force on 20th January.

Mike Hedges, the Chair of the Climate Change Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, described how campaigns against wild animals in travelling circuses have gone on for decades. Indeed, Freedom for Animals has been tirelessly campaigning on the issue since 1957.

The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths stated that the 'strength of feeling' on the 'emotive subject' of wild animals in travelling in circuses is significant and that it was unjustifiable to allow this practice to continue in Wales. She also noted that a ban in Wales will ensure consistency on the issue across Great Britain and prevent Wales from becoming a 'sanctuary' for the two remaining circuses using wild animals in the UK; Circus Mondao and Peter Jollys Circus.

The legislation is not expected to come into effect before December, meaning that both Circus Mondao and Peter Jollys Circus will potentially have another season of using wild animals in their acts in Wales.

Freedom for Animals' Director, Sam Threadgill said;

We welcome the news that the Wild Animals and Circuses (Wales) Bill has passed the first hurdle in the Senedd and agree with Lesley Griffiths' comments that the practice of using wild animals in circuses is 'outdated and unethical'. This legislation will bring Wales into line with the rest of Great Britain and is an important stepping-stone in banning animal circuses altogether.

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