Circus wild animal ban proposed for England
Going to the circus to see exotic animals like camels and zebras perform could soon be a thing of the past.
The government has set out a draft law, banning the use of wild animals in circuses in England from December 2015.
Animal welfare groups have been calling for the law for years and in 2011, MPs voted overwhelmingly in support of a ban, supported by 95% of the public.
It's after a number of reports of animals being mistreated by some circuses.
A draft law means it hasn't yet been officially approved but it's being proposed by Defra, the government department that deals with animal welfare.
Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are being invited to sign up to the law change for those countries too.
'A big step'
Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said:
"This is a big step towards making it illegal to use wild animals in circus performances. Until the ban comes into force, travelling circus owners must meet strict licensing conditions to ensure high welfare conditions for wild animals."
There are currently 20 wild animals performing in two licensed circuses in England.
These include camels, zebras and snakes but no elephants, monkeys or big cats.
Under the new law domesticated animals like rabbits, dogs and horses will still be allowed to be used by circus performers.
"As much as I love animals I think it's OK to use animals in the circus but not wild animals. I think horses, dogs and other house pets are OK as we teach them tricks as well."
Tasha, Hampshire, England
"Why should animals have to spend their life in the circus when they could be happy in the wild?"
D-J, York, England
"I love animals, I always have, always will do. But I think it's torture to put them in a circus with loads of children and adults cheering. I know they're tame but it must be scary."
"I think the ban should go ahead because a few years ago I went to a circus and all the animals looked sad and depressed."
Niamh, Liverpool, England
"I think that zebras, tigers and elephants should not be allowed to live in circuses because it is like they are in jail."
Alexandra, Hull, England
"I do not think the ban should happen as most of the animals are well looked after. I think the RSPCA should do a search of all circuses and then decide. This is someone's life and their animals we are talking about."
Millie, Surrey, England
"I think the ban should take place because it's not fair to the animals. How would the owners like to be locked up all day then forced to do tricks?"
Emily Rose, Derby, England
"I don't think animals should be banned from the circus, but I do think that circus conditions should become better for the animals."
Oliver, Warrington, England
"I think that animals should still be used in the circus as long as the animals are treated well outside the circus and they also enjoy what they are doing."
Amy, Northampton, England
"Domestic animals are kept as pets and are used to it. If we keep them as pets we can use them in a circus but they must be treated well. Wild animals should be free as they are WILD."
Alanna, Pontypool, Wales
"I love animals and I always have. Watching them is a pleasure to behold but knowing that they are being mistreated changes the way you look at the world and ruins your day out."
Rosie, Bedford, England
"It is a tradition for them to be there. As long as the circus owners treat the animals well, the ban should stop."
Andrew, Aberdeen, Scotland
"We should never use animals in circuses. It is cruel to animals and they could also go out of control and hurt someone really badly."
Sana, Bradford, England
"I completely support the ban of animals in circuses! It is an act of animal cruelty and should be stopped."
Anna, Ashford, England
"I don't think animals should be used at all in circuses. It is cruel and unfair for the animals. I think they should be banned from circuses."
Alex, Ashford, England