Blog about animals
Selected the best cow in Germany
Fishing ban proposed near Rockall after rare scientific finds
Life and death on the riverbank
Baboon shot dead after escaping from Knowsley Safari Park
Birdwatch: Peregrine falcon
Iceland's fin whales are endangered. Stop this bloody cull
The pitfalls of elderly dog insurance
Valley where Edward Carpenter, gay rights campaigner and socialist, walked
Green groups warn government of national parks hunting backlash
Demand for ivory destabilising central Africa
Dog walker found neighbour trampled by cows, inquest hears
Cat stands for election in Mexican city
I hear some hip cat's running for mayor in Mexico. That gives me an idea
Wader chick fever grips birds and spotters alike
Philippines destroys five tonnes of elephant tusks
The Dwyfor is surely one of the loveliest of Welsh rivers
New to nature No 107: Typhochlaena costae
How to beat the midges this summer
Controversial herring gull cull gets green light
Whaling's day in court is a sea change for conservation
Australia censures Japan for 'scientific' whaling
The young red deer stags were on their hind legs boxing, just like hares
Our garden's blackbirds started their nest-building early this year
UK wildlife and nature hit hard by erratic weather
  Plan to ban wild animals in travelling circuses 'goes too far'
Government plans to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses go "too far", according to a committee of MPs scrutinising the proposed legislation.

They say some species, such as camels and zebras, could be exempted from the ban. The move dismayed animal welfare campaigners, who said that all wild animals suffered from the conditions imposed by constant travelling.

High-profile incidences of abuse, such as the ill-treatment of performing elephant Anne by circus staff in 2011, had prompted the government to draft legislation to remove wild animals from circuses. The proposed bill, published in April, would outlaw the use of species not normally domesticated in the UK in travelling circuses after December 2015.

But Anne McIntosh, who chairs the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) committee which is scrutinising the draft legislation, said only some species should be included in the ban.

"We believe that there should be a ban on big cat species and elephants, but it is possible to argue that, for example, camels, zebra or snakes can continue to have a place in the travelling circus," she said.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) president Jan Creamer said the recommendations ignored animal welfare concerns and added that constant relocation created intolerable conditions for all species of wild animal.

"We welcome that the government has finally introduced a bill and we are delighted that they've done that, but we're very disappointed that Efra has decided to exclude other exotic animals and has been really restrictive in the animals that they've decided to protect," said Creamer.

"Efra has ignored that the key issue on the welfare of animals is the fact that they are constantly travelling and they're in a poor environment and in restricted space, and that goes for the camels, the zebras and other animals as much as for the elephants and lions and tigers," she said.

McIntosh said there did not appear to be any welfare grounds for a ban. She said animals such as zebras and camels that were still used in travelling circuses in the UK were regulated by strict licencing that would protect their welfare.

The recommendations will now return to the government to consider whether to amend the draft bill to create a prescribed list of banned species or retain the blanket ban in the initial proposal.
'Wild' animals in travelling circuses benefit no one
The intoxicated world of the spotted flycatcher
Fishing quotas can be redistributed to favour smaller vessels high court
Madagascar battling worst locust plague since 1950s
A broody sparrow meets his match
Climate change is happening too quickly for species to adapt
The weird and wonderful world of the naked mole rat
Australian woman seriously injured during Spanish bull run
Spain's endangered Iberian lynx brought back from brink of extinction
One man and his sniffer dog help tackle Germany's hidden drug problem
The hotel that only takes dogs
T rex tooth found embedded in prey, restoring dinosaur's reputation
Bog cotton covers the summer Peak District moors in snow
Lifelike after death: the intricacies of a taxidermist's craft
The six-spot burnet moths complete their transformation
Research on animals in UK rises by 8% to exceed 4m procedures
Animal testing it's time to talk about it again
A pair of lithe animals are tumbling across the grass within feet of me
New to nature no 109: Anochetus hohenbergiae
England's ceremonial mayors eschew fur to support animal rights
Birdwatch: Corn bunting
Madrid declares war on plague of raccoon and parrot invaders
Snow leopards and wild yaks becoming 'fashion victims'
Horn seizure prompts rhinos warning
Threatened seabirds 'neglected' in plans for Scottish marine protected areas
Los Angeles campgrounds closed after plague-infected squirrel found
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China's wine boom of little profit to giant pandas and small farmers
Let's not martyr the white-throated needletail to the anti-wind cause
Grasshopper breeder up for design award and educating western palates
Spanish national park could lose Unesco status over illegal boreholes
Dog mauls boy at primary school in Northern Ireland
Our dog walks are punctuated by the corn bunting's jingling ringtone
End in sight for painful branding of semi-wild moorland ponies
New to nature No 108: Carlia decora
Penguins support gorillas as biscuit makers respond to palm oil threat
Measuring carbon age in ivory could help combat poaching, study shows
How to survive a seagull attack
A walk by the river triggers memories of a bygone age
Whales flee from military sonar leading to mass strandings, research shows
Down among the grass stems, a ball of recently hatched orb-web spiderlings
Owen Paterson vows to rid England of bovine TB with badger culls
Gassing of badgers considered in plan to eradicate TB in cattle
Visitors to the Pamplona bull run have blood on their hands
Bats: they've never had it so good
These dew ponds have been on the Downs possibly since medieval times
Australian bushman claims to have footage of legendary night parrot
Secret badger shoots pose 'a risk to public safety'
Cheshire police seize dog believed to have killed Pomeranian
Whale watching season is back - but how close is too close?
Plan to ban wild animals in travelling circuses 'goes too far'
Morrissey donates Channel 4 payout to Peta campaign against foie gras