Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild


Country update

Following a very positive statement in mid-2016, whereby a Welsh government spokesperson suggested that Wales may move to ban the use of wild animals in circuses independently of England, a statement made in December of the same year appeared to backtrack on this proposal. Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, released a statement suggesting that Wales will instead pursue a licensing or registration scheme for mobile businesses using animals for display and performance. The proposal seeks to include events such as reindeer displays and also cover mobile zoos. While the Born Free Foundation is pleased that the Welsh government is recognising that there are animal welfare concerns relating to the use of animals in performance in settings other than a circus, the introduction of a licensing regime for circuses is strongly condemned. It is firmly held that the welfare of wild animals in travelling circuses is always compromised and thus, a ban is the only appropriate course of action.

The proposal to introduce licensing will be put out to public consultation – with the consultation expected to take place during 2017. Once the consultation is published, we will be asking supporters to take part and help us to call for a complete ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

What you can do

As we await further information regarding the proposed licensing or registration regime for travelling circuses, we continue to encourage supporters to write to the Welsh Government in support of a ban. Following the Welsh elections in May 2016, Lesley Griffiths was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, with responsibility for animal welfare. 

Please write to Ms Griffiths to ask her to reconsider her department’s plans to license the use of wild animals in circuses and move instead to ban,

You might want to include the following points in your email but feel free to add your own thoughts, too:

  • The announcement that Wales was considering a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, and the commissioning of a report to consider options is very encouraging.
  • It was a great disappointment to learn that, instead of the ban, Wales is now considering a licensing scheme.
  • The welfare of wild animals used in circuses is inevitably compromised by their use in this way and only a ban will guarantee that animals are effectively protected from suffering.
  • With delay in Westminster, Wales can lead the way on this important animal welfare issue.
  • The general public and all leading animal protection groups support a ban.

Ms Griffiths can be contacted via email on:


<Scotland --- Northern Ireland>

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

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