Wild animals in travelling circuses

BVA has consistently supported a ban on wild animals in travelling circuses across the UK

BVA position

BVA considers that the welfare of these animals is emblematic of the way we treat all animals under the care of humans. The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus - in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour.

BVA activity

BVA has campaigned for a number of years for a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, alongside the Born Free Foundation, Captive Animals’ Protection Society and the RSPCA.

BVA supports the anticipated ban in England and is now calling on all UK devolved administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) to introduce a ban.

Regulation of circuses

On 16 April 2013, Defra published the draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill which sets out a proposed ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in England. The Bill has yet to be adopted by Parliament.

In the meantime, a licensing system led by AHVLA has been introduced in England. 

Anyone operating a travelling circus with wild animals must have a licence, as required by the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012. Licensed circuses also receive regular inspections to check welfare standards and compliance with conditions.

More information