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22/01/14 19:19

Circus animals consultation

Public views sought on wild animals in travelling circuses.

Wild animals could be banned in travelling circuses in Scotland depending on the result of a consultation which is now open.

The public have until April 16, 2014 to submit their views on a potential ban aimed at protecting the welfare of wild animals.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“I think it’s important to make it clear that there are no travelling circuses with wild animals presently based in Scotland. This particular issue is one which is attracting concern elsewhere and is being considered in other areas of the UK. It is therefore prudent that we also consider the implications for Scotland.

“The health and wellbeing of these animals is clearly something which is close to many people’s hearts and is one of the main reasons why we are seeking views in this consultation. The following ethical considerations are explored in this consultation; respect for wild animals, the travelling environment and the ethical cost versus any potential benefit.

“I understand that circuses bring joy to a number of people, however, we must weight this up with the welfare of the animals - something that I and the Scottish Government take extremely seriously. We need to gain a clearer understanding of the picture in Scotland and this consultation will allow us to gain the evidence needed before pressing ahead with any decision.”

Notes to editors

The consultation can be accessed here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/01/5291