Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Northern Ireland

Country update

Northern Ireland has not yet made any firm commitment with regard to the use of wild animals in circuses, but the Born Free Foundation has met with officials to highlight why it is felt a ban is necessary. Northern Irish MLAs had stated that they were keen to take a joined-up approach with the Republic of Ireland.

In November 2017, the Republic of Ireland made the announcement that it would be introducing a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses in January 2018, thus giving us hope that Northern Ireland would follow suit.

Unfortunately, following a change in Government in May 2016, and significant political unrest since that time, the current lack of a properly functioning Parliament in Northern Ireland means that how or when action might be taken remains unclear. The Born Free Foundation continues to monitor this issue and will resume talks with relevant officials as soon as it is practical.

What you can do

In May 2016, Michelle McIlveen MLA was appointed Minister for Agriculture and Environment. Please contact Ms McIlveen to request that she takes action on the issue of wild animals in circuses and implements a ban as soon as possible.

You might like to highlight the following points in your email but do feel free to add your own thoughts too:

  • Experts believe that the complex welfare needs of wild animals cannot be met in the travelling circus environment.
  • Public consultations carried out in other parts of the UK in the last five years have shown consistently high levels of support for a ban (England: 94.5% in 2010 and Scotland: 98% in 2015)..
  • Full or partial bans on the use of wild animals in circuses have been put in place in 23 countries around the world to date.
  • Scotland has led the way in the UK, having passed a Bill in December 2017, prohibiting the use of wild animals in travelling circuses; and the Republic of Ireland has a ban coming into force in 2018. Yet there is still no ban in Northern Ireland, England or Wales.
  • The DUP (Ms McIlveen’s party) stated its commitment to ban the use of wild animals in circuses in 2015

You can contact Ms McIlveen by email if you are a consituent:

If you are not a constituent, you can write to Ms McIlveen using the following address:
Room 310
Parliament Buildings

Thank you for taking action for animals!

<Wales --- UK Circuses>

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

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