The RSPCA has criticised the Government after a meeting on Monday saw DEFRA’s licensing scheme for circuses passed in the House of Commons. This legislation, says the charity, will delay the ban “for up to seven years”.  

The RSPCA is urging the Government to deliver on its promise to ban wild animals in travelling circuses in England.

The RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations believe an outright ban of animals in travelling circuses is the only way forward.The call comes after a meeting on Monday (October 29, 2012) saw DEFRA’s licensing scheme for circuses passed in the House of Commons.

According to the animal welfare charity, despite the Government’s claims it was going to pursue a ban on the use of the animals, the passing of licensing legislation “delays” the ban “for up to seven years“.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “We were delighted in March when the Government announced a ban would happen. Seven months later, nothing has happened to make the ban a reality.
“A new circus licensing scheme [has now been] announced that could make the life of wild animals in circuses worse, not better, and delay the end of this so-called ‘entertainment’.
“Anything short of a full ban is simply unacceptable, and will fail to meet the needs of animals such as lions, tigers and zebras.

“Let’s get on with what needs to be done and stop these animals from being dragged around the country in beast wagons or confined to cramped temporary cages,” he added.

DEFRA ran a consultation on its licensing plans in 2010. However, major animal welfare groups, including the RSPCA and the Captive Animals’ Protection Society, did not respond as they believe a ban is the only way forward. It was also found that 94 per cent of the 10,500 analysed responses favoured a ban.

For more information, visit DEFRA’s website.

Image © Jose Torres
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