The Maltese Parliament has unanimously approved a bill which prohibits the use of any animals in circuses.

Demonstration in Malta, 2012 (photo: Max Farrugia)

Demonstration in Malta, 2012 (photo: Max Farrugia)

The bill amends the Animal Welfare Act, so its provisions apply to other areas of animal welfare too. Among other things, it establishes harsher criminal sanctions against those who are found guilty of animal cruelty – including a maximum jail term of three years, as compared to the current 1-year maximum.

The bill also establishes the office of Director for Animal Welfare and a Commissioner for Animal Welfare, whilst aiming to strengthen enforcement powers and better define the powers of animal welfare officers.

Maltese animal welfare organisations have been campaigning for years for a review of the Animal Welfare Act, and in particular for the prohibition of all animals in circus shows.

You can read the full article on The Malta Independent website.

There is less inspiring news from the UK, however. There the government in the past promised to ban the use of wild animals, but the proposal is stalling in the parliament.

Many appeals have been sent to the UK government asking for this bill to be approved, and actions organised by animal welfare organisations are ongoing. You can read an article on this on the website of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS).