Search Legislation

Wild Animals and Circuses (Wales) Act 2020

Section 1 – Offence to use wild animals in travelling circuses

4.Section 1 makes it an offence for an operator of a travelling circus to use, or cause or permit another person to use, a wild animal in a travelling circus. The offence is a summary offence and so is triable in the Magistrates’ Court. If an operator is found guilty of the offence, the Court may impose an unlimited fine.

5.A wild animal is “used” if the animal performs or is exhibited.

6.A wild animal “performs” if, for example, it does tricks or manoeuvres for an audience.

7.A wild animal is “exhibited” if it is on display to the public, even if it is on display outside the main circus arena. For example, deliberately positioning the wild animal so that it can be viewed by the public in fields next to the circus would be “exhibiting” the animal. “Exhibiting” would also include displaying the animal in a way intended to promote the travelling circus, for example next to a circus poster. Operators of travelling circuses will not, however, commit an offence if anybody inadvertently viewed a wild animal which is in an outdoor enclosure (provided the wild animal was not deliberately placed there to be viewed).

8.An offence is committed whether or not payment is required or received to view the wild animal performing or being exhibited.

9.A wild animal does not need to have been transported with the travelling circus for the offence to be committed. Neither does the animal need to be owned by the travelling circus for the offence to be committed.

10.Despite section 1, travelling circuses may keep wild animals (provided they are not “used” by the travelling circus). See section 8 of these Explanatory Notes for changes to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and Zoo Licensing Act 1981 relating to the licenses circuses may require to keep wild animals.

11.The Act does not affect the use of domesticated animals in travelling circuses, nor does it prevent wild animals being used for entertainment in settings other than travelling circuses.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Welsh Government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of Senedd Cymru.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources