Circus animal ban in Wales 'could lead the way', campaigners say

Circus elephants Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

Campaigners have said they hope Wales can lead the way in banning the use of wild animals in circuses.

The Welsh government is carrying out a review on whether the likes of lions and elephants should be used in circuses.

Animal rights campaigners hope if Wales goes ahead with a ban, it will push the UK government to bring one in too.

But some Conservative MPs argue the animals' welfare is already covered by existing laws.

MPs in Westminster have been debating for years whether or not to ban circus animals.

Last year, the RSPCA launched a campaign to stop the "outdated practice", raising concerns about the temporary housing, forced training and performance of the animals.

An independent review into the use of circus animals, commissioned by the Welsh government, is due to end in a few weeks.

Chris Draper, from wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation, told BBC Radio Wales' Country Focus programme: "I would be delighted if the Welsh government were the first to take action on this.

"Someone needs to stand up for these animals and I suspect strongly that, if Wales were to lead the way, Scotland may follow and then it may force the hand of the government in Westminster to complete the British ban."

Rebecca Evans, deputy minister for farming and food, said the Welsh government had received "numerous requests to consider banning the use of wild animals in circuses that visit Wales".

She said the review would look into the latest evidence of animal welfare, both physical and mental, of wild andr non-domesticated animals in travelling and non-travelling circuses.

  • Country Focus, BBC Radio Wales, 07:00 GMT on Sunday

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