Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs
In December 2017, I announced my intention to introduce a licensing scheme for Mobile Animal Exhibits in Wales. A public consultation on a principles paper has taken place. 70 comprehensive responses were received with a series of stakeholder workshops being held across Wales which were attended by 62 individuals representing 41 organisations. I wish to thank every individual and organisation that has offered advice and am pleased for the overwhelming support shown towards this policy.
Officials have thoroughly considered the evidence presented in light of changes to legislation in this area, including my intention to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, and I consequently agreed to the drafting of Regulations. What has become clear is if the focus of the licensing scheme is limited to mobile exhibits, the welfare standards of animals used in some static exhibits may not receive any form of scrutiny. This discrepancy is unacceptable. I have, therefore, instructed my officials to extend the scope of the licensing scheme to include all animal exhibits which meet a given criteria, to be defined in law.
A full public consultation on the draft Regulations and accompanying guidance is expected to launch before the end of summer recess.
The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring animals in Wales live a good quality life. This licensing scheme provides an excellent opportunity to set appropriate welfare standards, which in turn encourages respectful and responsible attitudes towards animals, and plays a role in protecting the safety of people who access these exhibits.