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11 May 2017, 15:27
Plans to ban the use of wild animals in circuses performing in Scotland have been welcomed by campaigners.
The Scottish Government has set out measures to strengthen animal welfare legislation, with a bill to ban the use of any wild animal in a circus on ethical grounds.
It will also introduce measures to tighten the licensing of dog, cat and rabbit breeding and dealing, strengthen controls on the use of electronic training collars and review penalties available for animal welfare offences.
Animal protection organisations such as the Born Free Foundation, Captive Animals' Protection Society and OneKind have welcomed the move.
The bill follows a government consultation heavily in favour of banning wild animal circuses in Scotland.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: ''These measures have been carefully designed to improve standards of animal welfare in Scotland.
''Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and we take this issue very seriously.
''The bill we have introduced today bans the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, which is widely considered to be morally unacceptable in the present day.
''We have consulted extensively on a number of other issues and will now bring forward improved legislation and measures which will improve animal welfare.''
Animal Defenders International said 35 countries around the world have already put an end to the use of wild animals in circuses.
Chris Draper, associate director at Born Free Foundation, said: ''We congratulate the Scottish Government on becoming the first country in the UK to outlaw the archaic use of wild animals in travelling circuses.
''We continue to call upon English, Welsh and Northern Irish officials to follow the example set by Holyrood and bring an end to this cruel practice once and for all.''