Wild animals to be officially banned in circuses from January
The use of wild animals in circuses will be officially banned in Ireland from January 2018.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed today signed new regulations that will ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
The minister said he was "happy to endorse the general view of the public at large".
He also said he believes the move will "secure the future" of the circus community in Ireland, as more people will feel more comfortable with going to the circus.
"This is a progressive move, reflective of our commitment to animal welfare," Minister Creed said.
"I am of course allowing a modest lead in period to allow for alternative arrangements to be made for the animals in question."
He said that although circus owners and operators may have regrets about the move, 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.
He also said he appreciated their concern and care for the animals that have been part of their lives.
"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," Minister Creed added.
"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 Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013 has five core principles for animals which include; Freedom from hunger and thirst; Freedom from discomfort; Freedom from pain, injury and disease; Freedom to exhibit natural behavior; Freedom from fear and distress.