This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Wild Animals in Circuses (No 2) Bill, scheduled to take place on 19 June 2019.
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The Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill is a government bill that would prohibit the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. The bill defines a wild animal as one that is not commonly domesticated in Great Britain. The bill would ban the performance or exhibit of a wild animal and provide various powers of inspection of circus premises.
There has been longstanding debate about the ethics of using wild animals in circuses and successive governments have made commitments to introduce a ban. The use of wild animals in circuses is currently regulated by the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012. The regulations require all circuses using wild animals to be licensed and to adhere to a range of animal welfare and inspection requirements. The regulations contained a sunset clause and are due to expire in January 2020.
This briefing summarises the bill’s provisions, the policy background, and the bill’s House of Commons stages.