A bill banning wild animals in travelling circuses in England has been passed by parliament, bringing an end to a 13-year legislative process.
Last year, the government pledged to abolish the practice by 2020, and the Wild Animals in Circuses (No 2) Bill has now passed its third and final reading in the House of Lords, meaning it will now proceed to royal assent.
The use of wild animals in English circuses will cease from January, bringing England in line with Scotland. A ban for Wales was introduced to the Welsh Assembly earlier this month.
A ban on wild animals in circuses was first proposed in 2006 by the then government. However, it suffered a number of setbacks, including postponements and blocks by parliament.
Animal rights campaigners are now celebrating a conclusion on the issue more than 10 years after it was first promised and after two decades of activism.
Jan Creamer, president of animal protection group Animal Defenders International, said: “I am delighted that parliament has finally banned wild animals in circuses and we can draw a line under this archaic abuse in England, Scotland (where there is already a ban), and soon I hope in Wales.
More than 40 other countries have already instated bans on wild animals in circuses.