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The “stop using wild animals in circuses” Bill

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This Bill will make it illegal for travelling circuses to use wild animals for entertainment.

Wild animals are defined as animals that are not normally domesticated in Great Britain and would not naturally be found here.


This Bill follows a Government commitment made in February 2018 that wild animals would be banned from circuses by 2020. Animal rights groups have campaigned for decades to stop the use of animals such as lions, zebras and camels in circuses.

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove said:

“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.”

Although this ban only applies to wild animals, other domestic animals - such as horses, donkeys and dogs - will continue to be inspected regularly by officials.


This Bill is being introduced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP.

Other Arguments

This Bill is welcomed by all animal rights charities, although many have been critical of Governments for taking so long to achieve a ban. David Bowles from the RSPCA said:

“We’ve campaigned against having wild animals in circuses for many years. They have complex needs that cannot be properly met in a circus environment. It’s high time keeping wild animals in circuses is consigned to the history books and we look forward to the day that it is banned for good in England.”

How to get involved

You can contact your local MP.

If I don’t act, will it go through?

This is a Government Bill, and is expected to have cross-party support, so it is likely that it will go through.