Chris Lyttle MLA said: “A travelling circus is no place for wild animals. It is time that the Agriculture Minister introduces a ban on circuses coming to Northern Ireland with wild animals.
“A ban on wild animals in circuses will shortly come into force in England and Wales, so it is imperative that Northern Ireland does not fall behind the rest of the UK.
“East Belfast MP Naomi Long has campaigned on this issue in Westminster and has previously worked at a Council level to prevent circuses with wild animals using Belfast Council property. The Agriculture Minister should be looking to introduce a ban across Northern Ireland.
“People across Northern Ireland take animal welfare very seriously and I know that there would be great support for such a ban. We have seen several individual cases of the mistreatment of wild animals in circuses, but the need for a ban does not just come from anecdotal evidence, it is morally and ethically wrong to keep such animals in a circus environment, especially with the long distances that they are forced to travel.
“Alliance has been campaigning for several years and would urge the Minister to speed up the progress for the introduction of such legislation.”