Scotland could introduce wild animal circus ban

Scottish Nationalists may ignore the “strong legal advice” given to the UK Government and introduce a ban on wild animals in circuses north of the border, according to officials.

A spokeswoman for the SNP administration said ministers would decide this summer whether to include a ban in Scotland’s next annual legislative programme in September, despite warnings from Westminster than a ban might provoke a legal challenge.

The statement follows a passionate debate in Hollywood in which SNP, Labour and Green MSPs criticised successive failures to bar tigers and other creatures from the big top, prompting the Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson to say their continued use was “unacceptable.”

Promising he would look for a way to resolve the issue, Mr Stevenson said: “The dilemma for ministers is how a ban could be introduced.”

As reported in The Independent, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in Westminister has rejected a ban in favour of a licensing system.

Circuses that use around 20 wild animals such as tigers and zebras say they are well-treated, but animal welfare organisations – and now a growing ban of celebrity campaigners – say a life of small enclosures and training and travelling mean they should be re-homed to wildlife parks and sanctuaries.

The animal welfare group Animal Defenders’ International has recruited several leading public figures to pressure the Government into introducing a ban. The comedian Ricky Gervais said: “I am appalled that wild animals are still kept in circuses and fully support the call for a ban. It is high time that Government got on and implemented one.”

Actors Brian Blessed and John Nettles, the BBC disc jockey Mark Radcliffe, the comedian Alexei Sayle and the poet Benjamin Zephaniah, made similar comments. Zephaniah said: “There are so many ways that intelligent human beings can have fun, and exploiting animals should not be one of them. Beautiful animals are not for our entertainment, in fact it’s our duty to respect and protect them. I am a real animal lover and I would never go to a circus that had wild animals.”

The Queen guitarist Brian May, also encouraged to speak out by ADI, said: “The use of wild animals in circuses is cruel, distasteful and unacceptable in the 21st century. Our present government is currently backing away from ending this abhorrent practice.”

Separately, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) has enlisted the pop singer Jay Kay, from Jamiroquai. He said: “That circuses in this country are still forcing majestic animals, such as lions and tigers, to perform degrading tricks for cheap laughs is a saddening thought – but that the government are actively allowing it to continue against the will of the public, the experts and its own ministers simply beggars belief.”

CAPS director Liz Tyson said: “As England continues to hide behind perceived legal impediments, it will be interesting to see if our closest neighbours take the decision that Westminster seems determined to avoid, and make the right decision for the animals by imposing a ban.”

Animal welfare groups including the RSPCA and British Veterinary Association are backing The Independent’s campaign calling for Government ministers to rethink their decision. More than 26,000 people have signed the newspaper’s online petition. To sign visit independent.co.uk/circus animals.

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busines...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Pay between ?110 - ?130 Day: Randstad Education Cardiff:...

SAP Deployment Manager

£480 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Deployment Manager-Ta...

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultant

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Urgently seeking a Dynam...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game