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Last Updated: Friday March 26 2010 15:39 GMT

Wild animals face circus ban

Lions in a circus

Circuses in England might be banned from using wild animals in their shows.

It comes after the Government did a big survey to find out what people thought about circuses, and nine out of 10 said animals should never be used.

There are around 40 wild animals in four different circuses in the UK and the group that represents circuses says they are kept in good conditions.

But some politicians have now said they'll try for a total ban on animals in circuses.

One MP said: "I agree with the clear view emerging... that keeping wild animals to perform in travelling circuses is no longer acceptable."

There used to be a lot more animals used in travelling circuses, but things have changed in recent years.

The Classical Circus Association, which represents circuses, said the animals they used now had all been born in captivity and that inspectors made sure they were well looked after.

An elephant in a circus
An elephant in a circus

But many animal rights campaigners disagree and say animals should not be made to perform for our pleasure.


Nearly 85 per cent of people asked also said that ex-circus animals should be properly cared for, if a ban is brought in.

People mainly thought they should be re-homed in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

Animal welfare minister Jim Fitzpatrick agreed and said they wanted to make sure circus animals were well looked after when they stopped performing.


An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "We're extremely delighted to see that the Government has decided to finally move forward with proposals to ban the use of animals in circuses."

Nearly 13,000 members of the public took part in the opinion poll about circus animals.