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Wild animals to be banned in circuses from 2020
The Wild Animals in Circuses Bill will mean circus operators in England can no longer use wild animals as part of a travelling circus.

Gove confirms new bill to be introduced in England 

Environment secretary Michael Gove has confirmed that the use of wild animals in travelling circuses will be banned in England from 2020.

The move follows a commitment in February last year to introduce a ban by the time existing interim licensing regulations expire. The government initially announced its intention to introduce a ban in 2012.

Mr Gove said: “Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals in the 21st century and I am pleased that this legislation will put an end to this practice for good.

“Today’s announcement follows other measures we have taken to strengthen our position as a world leader on animal protection. This includes our ban on ivory sales to protect elephants, and delivering Finn’s Law to strengthen the protection of service animals.”

The Wild Animals in Circuses Bill will mean circus operators in England can no longer use wild animals as part of a travelling circus. It brings England into line with other parts of the UK, including Scotland and Ireland, which have already banned the practice, while the Welsh Government has pledged to introduce a bill this year.

Welfare organisations and the British Veterinary Association have welcomed the news.

Simon Doherty, BVA president, said: “We are delighted to see this coming into law following a long and sustained campaign and a huge groundswell of public support. This is an outdated practice where the welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met in terms of housing or expressing normal behaviour.

“While this issue may not affect a great number of individual animals, a ban is emblematic of how we should be treating animals in the modern world.”

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.