“Well let’s hope this has more luck than the supposed ban on animals in circuses in England…which after several years of being promised is still no further on; pitiful & Lame! Scotland I hope you implement the new laws quickly & put England to shame!”
By:-Daniel Sanderson, Scottish Political Correspondent
The move would deliver on an SNP manifesto commitment and follows a 2014 consultation in which 98 per cent of the public backed a ban.
That year, it emerged that two lions and three tigers were spending the winter in small cages in Aberdeenshire, leading ministers to commit to “look carefully” at introducing legislation.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman confirmed that it now “intends to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.” She added: “We are currently investigating the best mechanism for introducing legislation on ethical grounds and will make further announcements in due course.”
The Born Free Foundation, an international wildlife charity, said it was “delighted” with the pledge, which means Scotland is on course to become the first part of the UK to introduce a ban, although they are widespread across the world.
However, it said questions remained over the timescale and called for swift action. Chris Draper, programmes manager for captive wild animals, said: The Government in Westminster has promised a similar ban in England but has not proceeded with bringing in the already-written legislation. We would hate to see Scotland replicate the mistakes and delays that have occurred south of the border, and urge the Scottish Government to act swiftly to end the practice once and for all.”
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and its Scottish Branch also welcomed the announcement.
A spokesman said: “The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus in terms of housing nor being able to express normal behaviour. While this specific issue may not affect a great number of individual animals in the UK, we nevertheless believe it is emblematic of the way we treat all animals under human care.
“We are pleased to see the new Scottish Government not only identifying opportunities to improve animal health and welfare in Scotland, but taking hold of these opportunities with both hands – and we would urge other UK Governments to follow their lead.”