The Scottish coastal town of Irvine yesterday saw the latest step towards making the UK free of travelling animal circuses.
Above: Libby and Irene at North Ayrshire Council HQ in Irvine
Members of North Ayrshire Council supported a motion by Councillor Irene Oldfather – a former MSP and long-term advocate of animal welfare – to ban travelling circuses with animals from council land. In doing so, North Ayrshire joined a growing list of local authorities in Scotland that have listened to public opinion and decided that they will no longer host travelling circuses. Unless, of course, the performers are all human.
Over half of Scottish councils now ban circuses with wild or, in some cases, any animals from their parks and playing fields. North Ayrshire is a small council area but its seaside towns have been a favoured stop for travelling circuses over the years. Bobby Roberts Super Circus made three stops there this summer - two of them on council land - and Zippo’s Circus also regularly visits Irvine.
Representatives of OneKind attended the council meeting to hear Councillor Oldfather question the value of animal circuses for education, conservation or entertainment, when there are so many alternative opportunities to see animals in their natural environment. The motion was overwhelmingly supported by parties on both sides of the political divide.