Friday, March 10, 2006

Britain May Ban the Use of Some Wild Animals in Traveling Circuses

A good step, but more is needed. And, it seems it will only be focused on one species.


Britain to ban some wild circus animals


LONDON -- The British government said Wednesday it intends to ban the use of some wild animals in traveling circuses.

New provisions to the Animal Welfare Bill would outlaw the use of yet-to-be named species "whose welfare needs cannot be satisfactorily met" in a traveling circus. Animals in permanent circus venues, zoo performances and in the "audio visual" industry would be exempt, Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw said in a written statement to the House of Commons.

Animal rights groups hailed the proposal as a positive step and urged lawmakers to quickly pass the bill so it could be implemented by the fall.

"This is wonderful news and the culmination of more than 10 years of hard work for us," said Jan Creamer, the chief executive of the animal welfare organization Animal Defenders International.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said many wild animal species, including elephants, lions, tigers, bears, camels and zebras, at three British traveling circuses are enduring "welfare problems."

They urged the government to extend the proposed ban to all wild circus animals, but believed that only bears, elephants and big cats would be shoe-ins as species covered under the ban. The government said the process for selection which animals are covered is open to discussion.

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