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Wild animals in circuses

Circus zebras 2007. © Captive Animals' Protection Society www.captiveanimals.org 

We don't believe animals should be subjected to the conditions of circus life. Regular transport, cramped and bare temporary housing, forced training and performance, loud noises and crowds of people are often unavoidable realities for the animals. 

Circus life for animals

Travelling circus life is likely to have a harmful effect on animal welfare as captive animals are unable to socialise, get enough exercise or exhibit natural behaviours.
Many animals develop behavioural and/or health problems as a direct result of the captive life that they are forced to lead.

A recent report commissioned by the Welsh Government concluded that ‘Life for wild animals in travelling circuses...does not appear to constitute either a ‘good life’ or a ‘life worth living’.
We’re campaigning for a complete ban of wild animals used in circuses - add your voice.

Do circuses still use animals?

Some circuses in Britain currently tour with wild animals such as camels and reindeer.
Circus animals are protected by the Animal Welfare Act. In England wild animals must be licensed but there is no law to stop circuses using certain types of animals. In Wales, there is no licensing requirement. 

Where do wild circus animal come from?

Wild circus animals are usually captive bred but this does not mean that they are tame.
It takes thousands of years for animals to become domesticated and the wild animals used to perform in circuses have the same needs as they would in the wild. These needs simply cannot be met in a travelling circus environment. 

Where do wild circus animals live?

When on tour, circus animals such as camels will spend their time in animal tents, in fenced off areas to graze, or tethered to graze.

Should a circus choose to add big cats or other larger wild animals to their performance they would be confined to ‘beast wagons’ or chained within trucks.

For a small percentage (approximately one percent) of the day they are asked to perform in front of a crowd before returning to their cramped living conditions. 

Travelling animal shows campaign

This campaign is now closed.

In England

With your help we campaigned to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.

In 2012 the Westminster Government promised to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses across England. Sadly we're still waiting and we thank the thousands of people who have emailed their MP about this important issue.

With the Bill in Scotland that will soon ban the use of any wild animal in a travelling circus in Scotland, we're in a strong position to finally bring about change UK wide.

We'll continue to press the government in Westminster to implement this long-overdue ban.

In Wales

The Welsh Government recently consulted on new rules to cover travelling animal shows, such as falconry displays, reindeer shows and circuses.

We'll continue to work behind the scenes with them to improve the lives of these animals.

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