Should Scotland ban wild animals in travelling circuses?


Is it ethically wrong to use wild animals in travelling circuses? This is one of the questions a Holyrood Committee will ask as it looks into animal welfare legislation.

The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee will consider legislation that would ban the use of any non-domesticated animal travelling and performing in circuses. 

Following a government consultation, which was heavily in favour of the proposed ban, the Committee will now scrutinise the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill over the coming weeks. 

Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee Graeme Dey MSP said:  

“We know that people feel very strongly about protecting wild animals in travelling circuses.

 “In Scotland, the use of animals in circuses as a form of entertainment is somewhat of a rarity. In fact, such a travelling circus hasn’t visited Scotland for many years. 

“However, if this Bill is passed, it will make it an offence for circus operators to use wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland. 

“What the Committee wants to know is whether the Scottish public think this is the best way to protect wild animals."

If brought into law, it would be an offence for a circus operator – or person with overall responsibility for a circus – to use wild animals as part of a travelling circus. The Bill also includes the power to enter premises and vehicles in order to search for and examine animals. 


The deadline for responses is 9 June 2017. Find out more about the Committee’s work here.