Naomi Long MP said: “I do not believe that it is appropriate for wild animals to be used to perform tricks in circuses and it is clear from the overwhelming public support for a ban on this practice during the consultation that most people share that view.
“An investigation into the Great British Circus in 2009 showed that violence against animals in circuses is far from an exceptional occurrence. However, even where the animals keepers and trainers are not intentionally cruel, I do not believe that circuses can provide an environment in which the welfare needs of wild animals can effectively be met.
“The only way we will see this welfare issue addressed is for the Government to implement a ban on the use of wild animals in this way. Self-regulation is not merely a poor substitute for a ban, but no substitute at all”.