The use of wild animals in circuses will be banned in Ireland from January.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, who signed the new regulations yesterday, said the ban on the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes in circuses was “the general view of the public at large and a position I am happy to endorse”.
He described the move as progressive, adding that it was reflective of the Government’s commitment to animal welfare.
The decision to implement the regulations on January 1, 2018, was taken to allow “a modest lead-in period to allow for alternative arrangements to be made for the animals in question,” said Mr Creed.
He welcomed the fact that many local authorities had shown their concerns by not allowing public land to be used by circuses featuring wild animals.
Mr Creed said that, while he appreciated the care and concern circus operators and owners had for their animals, “the ability of a travelling circus to provide fully for all the needs of animals such as camels or tigers is no longer a tenable proposition”.
“While the retirement of the small numbers of wild animals in Irish circuses might seem like a loss, I am confident that this move will do more to secure the future of the circus community,” he said.
“Coming in line with modern welfare standards will mean that greater numbers of the public will be more comfortable with going to the circus.”
The Circuses (Prohibition on Use of Wild Animals) Regulations 2017 comes under the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013, the piece of legislation that updated and replaced around 40 pieces of primary legislation in the area of animal welfare and health, going back over 100 years, including the 1911 Protection of Animals Act.
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