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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 18:50 GMT
Scotland plans circus animal ban
Caged lion
Wild animals are still used in some travelling circuses
Animal groups are urging the Scottish Executive to include all wild animals in a ban which would prevent them performing in circuses.

Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie has confirmed that the executive is planning to introduce a ban, based on the animals' welfare needs.

However, the public will be consulted on which animals are included.

Advocates for Animals and the Born Free Foundation believe that no wild animals' needs can be met in a circus.

The ban would be secondary to provisions made in the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill.

Frequent travelling and restrictive environments in circuses mean that they cannot provide for the basic needs of wild animals
Daniel Turner
Born Free Foundation

In a response to a question by Labour MSP Irene Oldfather, Mr Finnie said: "I can confirm that we will introduce secondary legislation to create regulations.

"Given the nature of the different proposals, it will be necessary for us to consult on which animals should be banned from use on the basis that their welfare needs cannot be met adequately in travelling circuses."

There are already plans to ban certain wild animals from performing in travelling circuses in England and Wales.

The Born Free Foundation recently presented theScottish Parliament with a report it compiled with the RSPCA.

'Clear consensus'

Daniel Turner, spokesman for the foundation, said: "We are very pleased that the minister has indicated that the use of wild animals in circuses will be prohibited in Scotland.

"There is a clear consensus from animal welfare scientists, politicians and the British public that the frequent travelling and restrictive environments in circuses mean that they cannot provide for the basic needs of wild animals.

"We now look forward to becoming actively involved in the consultation process."

Ross Minett, director of Edinburgh-based Advocates for Animals, said: "We are sure that the vast majority of the Scottish public will agree with the executive that wild animals should not be continually transported from place to place, kept in totally inadequate conditions and forced to perform in a degrading manner for our entertainment.

"This kind of exploitation has no place in 21st Century Scotland."

Green MSP Mark Ruskell recently proposed an amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill, calling for an end to the use of wild animals in circuses.

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