Circuses face new curbs in animal protection bill

Plans for new animal welfare laws

source: Marie Woolf
Independent December 31 2001 p6

Plans for new animal welfare laws are to be published in Britain. They include a proposal to ban the usage of animals taken from the wild in circuses. There are also planned restrictions on the usage of whips, goads and tethers on performing animals, and new restrictions on animals classed as dangerous. The housing of circus animals will also be covered. Parliament is unlikely to study the proposals until 2003. The RSPCA would prefer a complete ban on circus animals, but the government does not plan to ban performing horses and dogs.

The proposals also include a raising of the age when children can buy pets from 12 to 16-years-old. New standards are also proposed for animal breeders, including puppy farms and horse stud farms, as well as for riding stables.

Some categories of animals will be excluded, such as hunted animals, and animals used for laboratory experiments, though farm animals are covered, as well as circus animals and pets. Critics argue that laboratory animals will suffer from lower standards. Hunting will be dealt with in separate legislation.