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Vets support ban on circus wild animals

VETS in Scotland are ­backing a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) spoke out after the Scottish Government launched a consultation on the ethics of the practice.

A ban is expected to come into force in England in 2015 and although there are no travelling circuses based in Scotland, there are four in Britain that use wild animals and stage performances north of the Border.

Robin Hargreaves, ­president of the BVA, said: "BVA vets have been quite clear that the welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within the environment of a travelling circus, especially in terms of accommodation and the ability to express normal behaviour.

"We strongly support a ban of wild animals in travelling circuses and would like to see all administrations in the United Kingdom ban this unethical practice."

The consultation states: "Many people now consider it outdated, morally wrong and potentially harmful to make wild animals perform circus tricks and acts that they would not otherwise perform naturally, simply to entertain or impress a paying public.

"There are also related concerns regarding the potential impact of wild animals in travelling circuses on developing attitudes towards animals in children and young people.

"The main factor that we need to consider from an ethical perspective is whether a modern Scottish society considers that the exhibitions and performances required of wild animals in travelling circuses compromise respect for animals and are therefore objectionable."

The BVA said it would repeat its call when it responds officially.

BVA Scottish Branch ­President Ronnie Soutar added: "A travelling circus is no place for wild animals."

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