No circus in the UK will feature performing lions or tigers for the first time in living memory this year.

The milestone follows new restrictions on circuses using animals coming into force last month ahead of an outright ban.

The last big top to feature big cats, the Great British Circus, has moved its tigers to an operator in Ireland, as the travelling circus season gets under way.

Animals have been used in circuses since the 18th Century and around 20 were using them in 2000.

But the Coalition has promised to fulfill the previous Government's pledge and outlaw it altogether.

The restrictions implemented so far force circuses to fulfill various licensing conditions, including regular veterinary visits and 'retirement plans for the animals'.

Only two companies have applied for licences - to keep camels, zebras and reindeer - since the new rules were introduced.

The first modern circus to feature animals was in 1768, when horses were used. Exotic animals from around the world were added as the British Empire expanded.

Animal rights campaigners have hailed the milestone as the beginning of the end forthe use of wild animals in UK circuses.

Animal Defenders International chief executive Jan Creamer told The Observer: 'There has been enough evidence, enough consultations, all the experts agree - putting large cats and other exotic animals in tiny cages and beating them to perform tricks to entertain people is unacceptable in modern society. The day of the animal circus is over.'

But David Jamieson, editor of King Pole circus magazine, said there are good examples of trainers on treating animals very well in Europe, where they are still a popular attraction.

He added: 'They're doing very interesting displays. It's not the old old style of a man with a whip and a chair.

'These are sensitive displays that show the animals' affection for humans and humans' affections for animals.'

The Great British Circus sent its tigers to Courtney Brothers Circus in Ireland, which made headlines last year when one of its elephants escaped and ran through Cork, and one of its trainers was later crushed by open of the animals.

The loss of toges and lions also follows the prosecution of Bobby Robers last year. He became the first circus owner to be found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act for mistreating an elephant.

Only around five of Britain's 30 travelling big tops use animals, with aerobatics taken more of the limelight.

Responses to "Lions and tigers to be banned from UK circuses"

  1. That is Terrific & Grrreat News

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes ,Great news indeed ! :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    wonderful that is the best news yet, now if all nonhuman animals were left alone in the wild it would be even better news. this is a start, thank you UK>

  4. Anonymous says:

    Its about time!!! Great news! I think all wild animals should be free& man should quit destroying their habbitat

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it is about time.Now get rid of all the other animals that are used for 'entertainment'. No animal should be used in such a way.How would one of us like it if we were kept in a cage and paraded purely to amuse and forced to perform tricks.

  6. Now it's time to attack Barnum and Bailey not even for the BIG CATS but for the Elephants too.

  7. Anonymous says:

    what will become of these animals ? I hope they will be given a lovely sanctuary to grow old in....

  8. Anonymous says:

    yeah let's put the circus owners in cages & then beat the crap out of them...

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