MSP aims to ban use of wild animals in circuses

AN MSP is launching an attempt to ban wild animals from being used in circus performances.

Mark Ruskell said the use of creatures such as lions and elephants in travelling circuses was a "medieval practice" and he is hoping the Scottish Parliament will back his move to outlaw it.

The Green MSP has put forward an amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill, which is currently going through Holyrood. If accepted by MSPs, it would ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

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Animal Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw has already announced plans for such a move south of the Border.

The Environment and Rural Development Committee will begin discussing amendments to the bill at its meeting this week.

Mr Ruskell, who is the Greens' environment spokesman as well as being the committee's deputy convener,

said: "It is impossible to give wild animals that evolved on the plains of Africa acceptable welfare conditions under cramped circus conditions.

"The training and performing of wild animals in circuses is a medieval practice that is thankfully going to be banned in England and Wales. It's now time for Scotland to follow suit."

An opinion poll carried out last year showed that 80 per cent of the public was against wild animals being used in circus shows.

The bill also contains measures to outlaw the docking of dogs' tails and ban the filming of animal fighting.

And it proposes to give ministers increased slaughter powers in the event of an animal disease outbreak, an issue stemming from the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 and the current worries over bird flu.