UK circuses face ban from using wild animals in two years
The use of wild animals in circuses across Britain will be prohibited in two years' time thanks to new government rules.
The Wild Animals in Circuses Bill will see the ban start from December 2015, and will include any animal not normally domesticated in Britain.
The BBC reports that agriculture minister David Heath said the two-year window is a "grace period" that will give owners time to arrange alternative care for the animals.
According to the Independent, which has campaigned tirelessly for the ban to be put in place with more than 30,000 people signing its petition, there are two British circuses that continue to use wild animals in their acts despite widespread opposition.
In fact, there are 20 licensed animals working in UK travelling circuses today, including camels, zebras and snakes.
Conservative MP Mark Pritchard launched a backbench motion in 2011 calling for a ban, which was passed without a vote in the Commons.
He told the BBC: "I am delighted the government have finally decided to introduce a ban.
"This is a victory for animal welfare and common sense - and proves that politicians who have belief, stick to their principles, and persevere despite hostile opposition, can still shape events."
The Government promised to outlaw the use of wild animals in circuses last year after the appalling mistreatment of Anne, the UK's last circus elephant, came to light.
An undercover film showed a groom kicking her in the face and hitting her with a pitchfork.
According to The Daily Telegraph, circus owner Bobby Roberts was found guilty of three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the animal, and for failing to prevent an employee from repeatedly beating her.
She is now, thankfully, living out her retirement in comfort at Longleat Safari Park.
Stabbed and abused: Horrific life of UK's last circus elephant
Longleat opens its doors to abused circus elephant, Anne
Runaway circus camel causes travel chaos in LA