Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses Bill introduced

Environment Secretary outlines new animal welfare measures.

A wide-ranging package of measures designed to improve animal welfare has been announced, alongside the introduction of a bill to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

The bill prohibits the use of any wild animal in a travelling circus in Scotland on ethical grounds.

Setting out a number of measures to strengthen animal welfare legislation, Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, also confirmed the Scottish Government will:

  • Introduce measures to require the registration or licensing of animal shelters and rehoming activities
  • Update regulations governing the licensing of dog, cat and rabbit breeding and dealing, including the irresponsible breeding and sale of these animals
  • Modernise the legislation on performing animals other than in circuses
  • Introduce tight controls restricting the use of electronic training collars 
  • Review the penalties available for animal welfare offences
  • Lay legislation permitting vets to shorten the tails of spaniels and hunt point retrievers intended for use as working dogs to reduce the number of tail injuries suffered.

Ms Cunningham said:

“These measures have been carefully designed to improve standards of animal welfare in Scotland.

“Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and we take this issue very seriously.

“The bill we have introduced today bans the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, which is widely considered to be morally unacceptable in the present day.

“We have consulted extensively on a number of other issues and will now bring forward improved legislation and measures which will improve animal welfare.”

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