Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Wild animals in circuses in the UK

Great British Circus - Photo BFF

The Born Free Foundation has been working steadily for many years for an end to the use of wild animals in circuses.

In the UK, we participated in a government-convened Circus Working Group in the late 1990s and again in 2006. We have investigated and exposed the treatment of wild animals in circuses on many occasions, and helped to relocate animals from circuses to better conditions.

Scotland is the only UK country to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, following the passing of a Bill in Scottish Parliament in December 2017.

The number of circuses with wild animals and the number of wild animals used by circuses have declined in recent years but we consider that a ban on wild animals in circuses across the whole of the UK is long overdue. A travelling circus environment simply cannot provide for the needs of wild animals.

For the latest on the circus situation in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, please see our news items.

How you can help bring an end to wild animal circuses in the UK

In the UK, the subject of animal welfare is one which is devolved; meaning that the relevant parliaments in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland have the power to make animal welfare laws independently of one another. It also means that legislation relating to animal welfare introduced by the Westminster parliament does not apply automatically to the other countries in the UK. This means that, in campaigning to see an end to the use of wild animals in circuses across the whole of the UK, we need to engage independently with parliamentary officials in all four countries. To do this effectively, we need your help!

If you live in the UK, there are important actions you can take to support the Born Free Foundation’s ongoing campaign to bring an end to the outdated and cruel use of wild animals in travelling circuses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Help us to consign wild animal circuses in the UK to the history books by taking the action relevant to the country in which you live. If you live outside of the UK, you can support the campaign by sharing this page and our other updates on social media or via email; this really helps us to spread the word on this important issue.

Links to action pages:



Northern Ireland


Current situation:


Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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