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Animal charity urges Scottish Government to end 'Victorian entertainment'

Animal charity urges Scottish Government to end 'Victorian entertainment'

The pictures of big cats locked in cages at a north-east circus provoked protests and calls for action at the Scottish Parliament last year.

The news 12 months ago that five lions and tigers were behind bars at the Circus High School near St Combs in Fraserburgh struck many people as being a throwback to 20 or 30 years ago.

Aberdeen Central SNP MSP Kevin Stewart tabled a Holyrood motion, urging a ban on circuses using wild animals for entertainment, adding: "This should not be tolerated".

Yet, a year later, there has been no change in the law, nothing to prevent the same situation of the creatures being consigned to captivity recurring in Scotland.

And that has led to campaign group Animal Defenders International, urging the Scottish Government to stop the "Victorian entertainment" of animals in circuses.

Ban on circus animals to be considered amid concerns over big cats

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Jan Creamer, the president of ADI, said: "Since Kevin Stewart's popular motion, the public has shown overwhelming support for a ban on outdated wild animal acts in Scotland.

"Wales and England have committed to banning wild animal shows and Scotland should do the same.

"Or it risks becoming an unwilling host for circuses which are banished from the rest of Britain.

"The world has moved on from this Victorian entertainment.

"So we urge the government to move forward with legislation right away to end wild animals suffering in circuses."

Annette Crosbie slates caging of circus cats in Fraserburgh

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Mr Stewart told STV he had raised the matter again by writing to Richard Lochhead, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs.

His letter, which was dated October 27, asked for urgent legislation on the matter.

Mr Stewart stated: "I'd be grateful if you could let me know what plans, if any, the Government has to legislate on this issue.

"In my opinion, we must introduce a ban to protect these animals and to show we are a progressive nation when it comes to animal welfare."

Move to ban 'barbaric' use of circus animals held captive in Scotland

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However, north-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald criticised the government's response.

He said: “The Scottish Government have had ample opportunity to consult on the use of wild animals in circuses, but did not include any proposals for legislation in their programme for 2015-2016.

“That of course means nothing can happen before the next Scottish Parliament elections, so voters who take this issue seriously will be able to make their own judgements about the approaches of the different parties next year.”

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