Ruskell warns Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses Bill does not fully address welfare issues

Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (5 Oct) used a debate on the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses Bill to warn that the proposed legislation does not fully address animal welfare issues.

Green MSPs agreed to allow the Bill to proceed to the next stage of scrutiny and amendment.

Mark Ruskell MSP said:

"Banning wild animals in circuses is absolutely the right thing to do on both ethical and animal welfare grounds. I moved an amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill over a decade ago that would have introduced a ban, except it was only supported by SNP members at the time.  

"Unfortunately, this new Bill, as drafted, does not yet provide clarity on what is a circus and what is a wild animal. Given that there has been more than a decade since the wild animals in circuses issue was raised by my original amendment, I am perplexed as to why the Scottish Government has not followed the route of the Welsh Government in updating legislation for all animal performances, of which travelling circuses are just one type.

"The ethical basis to this bill was based on public concerns about circuses as the top issue. Except there was no consultation or polling conducted to understand the public’s views on greyhound racing or bird of prey displays for example, yet these and many other types of animal performance raise ethical and welfare questions of varying degrees that need addressed.

"There is much for the government to do to improve this bill so we have a proper ban."