Travelling Circuses To Be Banned From Using Wild Animals In England

Joshua RogersJoshua Rogers in News, UK
Published 02.05.19

Travelling Circuses in the UK will be banned from using wild animals – including zebras and camels – in their shows from 2020. The Wild Animals in Circuses Bill was announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

I haven’t been to a circus in years, but growing up in Blackpool I can tell you I’ve seen my fair share of them. I suppose they’re decent when you’re young, but as an adult I can’t imagine enjoying them too much.

Although I did see Cirque du Soleil a few years back and it completely blew my mind. Now that’s a circus I can get on board with.


But apparently circuses are still very much loved by people, although it surprises me to hear that travelling circuses still use wild animals in their shows. Animal rights activists have criticised circuses for subjecting these animals to confinement, torture and unhealthy living conditions for years, and now there’s been a breakthrough in their plight, as Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced that travelling circuses will be banned from using wild animals as of next year.

According to reports, there were 19 animals in travelling circuses in the UK last year – including camels, zebras and reindeer.

And now the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill will make it illegal for circus operators in England to use such wild animals. It is thought this will help with conservation and protecting animal rights.

Mr Gove explained: “Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals in the 21st century and I am pleased that this legislation will put an end to this practice for good.

“Today’s announcement follows other measures we have taken to strengthen our position as a world leader on animal protection.

“This includes our ban on ivory sales to protect elephants, and delivering Finn’s Law to strengthen the protection of service animals.”


In February 2018, the government committed to introducing the ban by 2020. At the time, 94.5 per cent of the public supported the motion, according to The Independent

A number of animal welfare charities have welcomed the news, with Dr Chris Draper, Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity at the Born Free Foundation saying: “After years of waiting for this issue to be resolved, Born Free is delighted that Mr Gove will now bring this Bill forward.

“The use of wild animals in travelling circuses is outdated and unpopular, and this legislation will bring England into line with a long and increasing list of countries which have banned this practice.

“Born Free and its supporters have campaigned for a long time for this outcome and we look forward to the swift progress of the Bill through Parliament.”

As I say, this a huge breakthrough for animal rights activists, who claim circus animals spend most of their lives behind bars, and are subjected to physical punishment as a training technique.


They can also be forced to jump through rings of fire and even ride motorcycles.

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International (ADI) said: “We are delighted and relieved that the UK Government is bringing in its promised legislation to ban wild animals in circuses.

“Animal Defenders International has documented suffering and abuse in UK circuses for more than 20 years and this long-awaited measure will stop circus suffering in England, and take us another step closer to the UK-wide ban the public want and the animals need.”


I think it’s safe to say this is unquestionably the right move to make. Animals really aren’t here for our entertainment.

Thankfully more and more people seem to be realising that.

Images via Getty