Y Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, Amgylchedd a Materion Gwledig - Y Bumed Senedd
Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee - Fifth Senedd18/09/2019
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Andrew R.T. Davies AC|
|Jenny Rathbone AC|
|Joyce Watson AC|
|Llyr Gruffydd AC|
|Mike Hedges AC||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Michael Radford||Darllenydd mewn Cyfraith Lles Anifeiliaid a Chyfraith Gyhoeddus, Prifysgol Aberdeen|
|Reader in Animal Welfare Law and Public Law, University of Aberdeen|
|Rebekah Humphreys||Darlithydd mewn Athroniaeth, Prifysgol Cymru y Drindod Dewi Sant|
|Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Wales Trinity St David|
|Ron Beadle||Athro mewn Trefniadaeth a Moeseg Busnes, Prifysgol Northumbria|
|Professor of Organisation and Business Ethics, Northumbria University|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Elizabeth Wilkinson||Ail Glerc|
|Katie Wyatt||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|Marc Wyn Jones||Clerc|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod am 09:31.
The public part of the meeting began at 09:31.
I welcome Members to the meeting. Can I ask that Members declare any interests that they may have? And we've received apologies from Neil Hamilton, and Andrew Davies will be joining us later.
Today we're taking evidence from a panel of academics to help inform our scrutiny of the Bill. We have Professor Ron Beadle, professor of organisation and business ethics, Northumbria University; Dr Rebekah Humphreys, lecturer in philosophy, University of Wales Trinity Saint David; and Michael Radford, reader in animal welfare law and public law at the University of Aberdeen. Can I welcome all three of you and thank you very much for coming? For some of you it's been a very long journey, so a special thanks.
Thank you for the invitation.
If you're happy, we'll start off with some questions. Starting off with me. Despite the findings of the Harris review, the Welsh Government has chosen not to use powers under the Animal Welfare Act 2016 to introduce a ban on animal welfare grounds. To what extent do you agree with the Welsh Government's position?
That was easy.
I think it's the correct decision, constitutionally and in law, because although part of the rationale for the ban is on grounds of animal welfare itself, the principal reason is the ethical dimension. It's not been tested so far as the Assembly is concerned, but the general principle—applying the Westminster principle—is that Ministers cannot use delegated powers to promote their own ethical views, and therefore it needs primary legislation because the Assembly does have the wider power to reflect the moral and ethical views of the Welsh electorate.
Thank you. Is that the view of you all?
That is my view. I think there are strong ethical grounds for introducing a ban and strong arguments to do so, so I'd agree with Mike there, definitely.
I would concur with that, but there is a proviso here, which we may well come on to. In the absence of welfare grounds, what then are the other ethical grounds for the type of decision that's under consideration? Hopefully we'll move to that.
I'm moving straight to that now—
Could I just say, Chair, that I think doing it by way of primary legislation leaves much less chance of a successful legal challenge?
Returning back to Ron Beadle, who's expecting the next question, has the Welsh Government provided adequate justification for introducing a ban on using wild animals in travelling circuses on ethical grounds?
No. And I don't think I should repeat my submission, but the principal arguments are contained there.
I just wanted you to say 'no' on the record. Again to Ron Beadle: the Welsh Government uses a strong body of opinion as part of the rationale for a ban on ethical grounds. How far does the prevalence of opinion equate to an ethical argument?
So, my argument is that it doesn't equate to an ethical argument, and it's very important in these sorts of situations to know what the question is that we're asking. We're asking a particular type of ethical question here. It's not an ethical question such as might face each of us individually as to a decision as to whether, for example, to attend the circus or whether to promote a particular animal welfare cause. It's a decision as to whether to prevent a particular type of activity—to ban it. That must require a different type of consideration. So, it may well be that there are adequate grounds, good grounds, why one of us, all of us, might not wish to attend the performance, but you have to have additional grounds. And Mike Radford makes this point: to overcome the common law principle that people should be free to engage in activities that aren't specifically banned.
Thank you. Moving on to Mike Radford: you refer to the use of wild animals in circuses as 'inherently wrong and inappropriate'. Can you expand on this?
Yes. I think public attitudes to the treatment of other species has changed dramatically over the last 20 or 30 years. Many activities that used to be considered to be perfectly acceptable are now questioned and, in some cases, have been either restricted or prohibited—things like tail docking of dogs, hunting with hounds, fur farming—and this is part of that trend. The reason for that, I think, is twofold: one aspect, particularly with wild animals, is the media—David Attenborough programmes, wildlife programmes—we now understand much more about the natural lives of these creatures; and the other reason, which has impacted on animal welfare policy generally, is increased scientific understanding of the capacities of other species and the impact of human use on them. It's very noticeable that animal welfare science, as a discrete area of inquiry, has developed—well, it originated from the late 1960s, early 1970s, but it's really through the 1990s and this century that it's developed significantly.
I think also, from a Darwinian perspective, it's just too much to say that there's a huge leap between what animals' cognitive capacities are and what human beings' cognitive capacities are. There's more and more evidence coming to the fore to show that animals' cognitive capacities are not really that different in the kind of capacities that humans possess, but more different in terms of the degree of that capacity.
Can I just also add, in relation to the ethical argument, that there's a big difference between what we consider to be—? There's a big difference between what makes right actions right and what we consider to be the norm in society. So, most oppressions are linked and relate to a certain being being objectified in some way or another, whether that be a human or an animal, and with regard to objectifications, what often happens is that these objectifications are often invisible. So, the fact that certain exploitations, certain objectifications, are considered the norm makes those objectifications invisible to society. And just because something is the norm, it doesn't necessarily make it right. So, there's a big difference between what makes right actions right and the status quo, or the norm, of society. Slavery is a good example of this, and many argued that slavery would be very bad for the economy and that the benefits of banning slavery wouldn't outweigh the harms, but that doesn't mean that slavery was thereby right.
I think, also, the increased scientific understanding changes the nature of the ethical debate because the more we understand and the more we know about the impact—the needs and the impact of human treatment on other species—the greater the duty to have regard to it. Years ago, we lived in ignorance of these things and we can look back and say that animals were treated in all sorts of appalling ways. Those who were responsible knew no better. Once one knows the implications, there is a moral duty to have regard to it.
And the public are much better informed about the cognitive capacities of animals, with internet access nowadays.
Thank you. Jenny Rathbone wanted to come in.
Given the information you're providing about how we know a lot more about the feelings of animals, why do you think that we should be prioritising this aspect of our relationship with animals as opposed to, say, factory farming, or the way in which dogs are bred to make their eyes pop out and have long ears and all the rest of it?
I think we should be opposed to factory farming, but this Bill concerns the use of wild animals in circuses, and were there a Bill to ban factory farming, then I think that would be an important Bill too, and is much needed. I think factory farming is a good argument to show why not all farming is wrong, but some farming is wrong. I think with this Bill, this concerns wild animals in circuses, so that's what I focused on in my response, rather than bringing in the analogy of all the different sorts of exploitations of animals.
Does anyone else want to come in?
I don't want to turn this into a lecture or an ethics seminar; you've already read all the submissions. But I think it's worth, as I said previously, being aware of the question, and in Mike Radford's submission, he makes briefly the point that he's made here—that the standards have changed over time. So, he says there that, on welfare grounds alone, there wasn't justification to proceed with legislation. And at the time his Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee made their report, that was the conclusion that they reached because there was insufficient scientific evidence to move forward at that time.
The field studies that have been undertaken, particularly those of Theodore Friend in the United States and Kiley-Worthington, support that, because in terms of animal behaviours and welfare—and you've had Ted Friend's submission as part of Chris Barltrop's submission—you can see that the evidence is mixed, but that strong cases have been made on either side. So, the standard that has been elucidated here, by both other speakers and in their submissions, is one of a life worth living and a good life—that that should be the ethical standard. And by implication, if you're to be ethical, following from Ms Rathbone's question—if you're to be ethical, you need to say that this standard applies, and if you apply the standard, you need to apply that standard consistently.
So, essentially, the goalposts have moved. The goalposts are now no longer about animal welfare, according to the cases made by the colleagues here—the standard is about whether this activity supports a good life. Now, against that standard, against those goalposts, to be consistent, this committee and this legislature have to include a number of other activities, because we're not talking about factory farming or tail docking, we're not talking about cases where there are clear welfare concerns and the suffering of animals is evident—we're talking about the application of a novel criterion. And the reason we have to apply a novel criterion, the reason this comes up, is, of course, in our normal ethical trade as human beings, the principles that we apply around consent, and we can't do that in relation to animals—we have to engage in some degree of creative thinking, and herein lies the problem. You'll hear on 2 October—and I would encourage you to take up the invitations to go and see training sessions with wild animals—that this, too, is contested. And the types of relationships possible between trainers and animals—which I find remarkable and amazing and deeply moving as a human being, and which my colleagues doubtless find repulsive—are the point at issue here. But if you're to be ethical, please note that these goalposts are pretty high and would rule out a large number of activities that would otherwise not fall within the purview of normal animal welfare consideration.
I think in answer to your question, it's part political, part ethical, and the two are combined in that there may be a range of activities that one would like to see changed or prohibited, but politically it's much more difficult to do because there's a range of vested interests. The other issue is that in respect of many of them, such as farming, there may be a wide body of opinion that considers that, however inadequate, present standards are justified and have to be tolerated. For example, with farm welfare, if you increase standards within Wales or within the UK, that may make home production uncompetitive compared—. There simply are not those considerations here. There's no competition and there is really no justification. This is an antiquated activity. Time has moved on.
I have to come in here. The vested interest is important, because this is a very dangerous principle that Mr Radford is advocating. He's saying that where there are vested interests, you as legislators have to take a different attitude to where there are minorities—in this case, a terribly small minority, a minority of perhaps two or three people who are continuing this practice in Wales. What he's therefore saying in terms of the politics is that you should do it because you can do it. You can't ban the things that are serious, like horse racing, because there are vested interests, or factory farming, but because there are only three people left who are practising this activity, then you can and, therefore, you should. That, I'd suggest to you, is a very dangerous precedent.
May I just raise a practical issue, which is that whenever there is moral progress, it's often piecemeal? Just because we think, for example, factory farming is wrong and we're going to introduce an Act that, I don't know, improves the conditions of the lives of caged hens, that therefore we need to also introduce an Act that, for example, improves the lives of animals in laboratories, improves the lives of domesticated animals, improves the lives of animals in the wild and improves the lives of animals in circuses, et cetera—. From a philosophical point of view, yes, if you're going to write a paper on all those things, then to be consistent, you have to apply the condition that you mentioned, Ron—the standard you mentioned it as, the condition that animals have an interest in fulfilling a good life—to all other sorts of practices, human ones included. There are many humans who don't have a worthwhile life, including humans, for example, who say that perhaps euthanasia is right. That doesn't thereby mean that the Bill is inconsistent if we don't introduce a Bill on euthanasia.
Thank you. I think we perhaps can move on a little. The committee have received evidence from Circus Mondao, a travelling circus in the UK using wild animals, who suggest it would be unethical to remove wild animals currently being used in travelling circuses from their lifestyle and keepers. Do you agree, or disagree, or have some agreement?
I think it's probably fairly clear what I would say to that, and the response of slavery is, again, a good one, or other forms of exploitation that cause various economic disadvantages.
I don't think the point is relevant, because the Bill doesn't ban the ownership of these animals. What the Bill is intending to ban is wild animals in circuses operating in Wales. If it becomes law, it will still be lawful for the owners to own those animals and train them within the confines of the law as it is, and they can use those animals outwith Wales and the United Kingdom.
But that again raises the point about consistency, does it not? I noticed in Dr Humphreys's submission that she makes, correctly in my view, the argument that this principle should be extended to the use of animals in film. We know that a number of circus trainers also train animals for films, so that is the next step. So, once you've admitted the principle, it doesn't mean, as, again, Dr Humphreys says, that the implication of my argument is that you must legislate completely. I think having a framework for animal welfare and animal rights legislation would be useful for any legislature, through which then to consider specific pieces of primary legislation and, indeed, secondary legislation off the back of those principles.
But I think it is certainly worth thinking through the implications of specific legislation and new standards—novel standards where they're being applied, as they're being applied here. Because if we applied that standard of the good life, and certainly the standards around the lack of dignity, supposedly, in having animals undertake tricks, then that certainly—. And it follows from the legislation; to make it consistent, you have to have static as well as travelling, for example, and you have to consider film and so on if there's to be consistency, whereas what this Bill does as currently proposed is it uniquely targets travelling circuses, and we all know that travelling communities have been targeted by static communities throughout history, sometimes violently, as in last week, when Peter Jolly's circus was attacked by 20 people and a number of injuries were received.
I don't think the Bill makes a challenge against travelling communities per se; it's against the use of wild animals in circuses—travelling circuses.
I think I can take it that you two disagree on this.
But it's the itinerant nature of travelling circuses that is relevant here. From the animal welfare point of view, the argument is that the nature of an itinerant circus—the accommodation, the travelling from week to week—is not conducive to the welfare needs of those animals.
But the one person who's undertaken field studies, whose evidence has been submitted to this committee, counters exactly that claim. So, Theodore Friend, who has conducted field studies—and none of us here have conducted or been involved in field studies around animal welfare or have, frankly, the necessary understanding to be able to make that judgment, so we'll have to rely on those who do. This is contested, and, as I say, as an appendix to Chris Barltrop's representation to this committee, you have Ted Friend, who's the most cited person who's conducted field studies. And he points out that in respect of travelling, wild animals, in the same way as horses travelling to events, become used to that travelling. Indeed, he makes the argument in his studies, over a number of years in the United States, as to why circus elephants live longer than elephants in zoos, and it's partly because of the stimulation that arises from going to new places. They are nomadic, after all, and the animals are very anticipatory when they're put in to make those moves, because they're looking forward to those moves. So, none of us can actually make a judgment on that, because we're not the experts in that area, but we can see that the evidence here is mixed in terms of travelling. But remember, we are working to different goalposts here. The arguments is not, and we've heard it's not—Mr Radford's first answer was that welfare grounds do not give the right under proportionality grounds to engage in primary legislation. So it's about ethics, and the ethics of transporting an animal from one place to another place are no different for a wild animal than for anybody taking their dog to the dog show.
I'd like to correct that, Chair. I didn't say that there weren't welfare grounds. What I said was that the Bill was being introduced principally on ethical grounds. So as far as welfare grounds are concerned, one of the issues here is that there is a paucity of research on circus animals specifically, but there is a precedent so far as public policy is concerned towards the keeping of wild animals, and that is in relation to the regulatory regime relating to zoos. And zoos are under a much higher requirement so far as environmental and other behavioural issues are concerned. The length of an animal's life is not necessarily relevant here; it's the quality of its life whilst it lives that is important.
That's true, but also one principle that might help in relation to all this is the precautionary principle, which is often used in environmental policy, which says that where there is a lack of scientific evidence, if we pursue some kind of action, and there is likely to be catastrophic damage, for example, then we should withhold from that action despite the certainty of scientific evidence. So I think even if we go along with the claim that there isn't sufficient evidence of the welfare harms caused to wild animals in travelling circuses, the precautionary principle in this case would translate to giving animals the benefit of the doubt.
Thank you. I know there's disagreement. I don't think we're going to make any further progress on that, so if I could move on to the next question. Llyr Gruffydd.
Well, yes, when the Bill was tabled, I thought, 'This is going to be pretty straightforward, it's a short Bill', but no, this is riveting stuff, fascinating stuff, actually.
Picking up on the fact that ethics must be universal or they cease to be ethics, which is what Professor Beadle is effectively saying—and that's what you've told us in the stuff that you've submitted previously—I presume, therefore, that extending this legislatively—. Because we do have to focus on the legislation. Of course, we can discuss it as a general principle, but this is scrutiny of a certain piece of legislation. But we could, for example, extend it to include banning domesticated animals from circuses. Is that an opinion that you all share in terms of there being sufficient ethical grounds to do that?
I'm quite torn on that one, because I think there is a difference in the ethical treatment of wild animals and of domesticated animals, partly because wild animals have different species-specific capacities, the nature of which can usually only be fulfilled with minimal interference from humans, whereas domesticated animals—. In domesticated animals, although it's not entirely true that we have just domesticated animals and we have taken over their lives; domestication has always been a two-way process—. When we become almost responsible for the lives of animals that we have taken into our care—and this goes for domesticated animals—then we also become responsible for their welfare and having their interests satisfied. With domesticated animals, their interests cannot be satisfied in the wild. That's why they're domesticated. With regard to wild animals, their interests cannot be satisfied in a domesticated setting, so the two cases are very different. So, while I would strongly agree that the Bill should apply to wild animals, I don't think it necessarily has to apply to domesticated animals at this present time. I don't think that, anyway.
I would agree with that as a blanket ban. It seems to me that one of the characteristics of domesticated animals is that they have become used to being close to humans and their behaviour has been adapted by that relationship with humans. That is not the case with the sort of wild animals that have traditionally been used in travelling circuses. And secondly, an awful lot of the training of domesticated animals is an adaption of their natural behaviour—for example, with sheepdogs or with horses, or such like—whereas with the sort of tricks and performances that have traditionally been presented in circuses, it's difficult to see how that builds and develops on their natural behaviour.
But some of those aspects in terms of interaction with humans, et cetera—you could actually say that second, third, fourth generation wild animals in circuses know no different. Is that not valid?
I'm not a scientist, but my understanding, not least from giving evidence to other legislatures on that with scientists, is that domestication is a scientific concept, and it's not simply about animals being tamed or animals being—. There is behavioural change and quite often genetic change through domestication. And even though the wild animals that are being used are bred from generations of animals that have been kept for a similar purpose, that doesn't constitute domestication.
No. I understand the points, yes.
I think also, if I could just add to that, anyone who has had contact with a cat or a dog, and we would all say that we have, will be aware that, as the cat or dog gets older, it doesn't necessarily get more dangerous. You don't have to put it in a cage, you don't have to inflict, perhaps, what could be called cruel treatment on that dog or cat in order for it to perform in a particular way. It depends what cat you've got, I suppose. But with wild animals, when they're very young and cuddly, that's all good and well, but once they become sexually mature it's very difficult to keep a lid on their aggression and the other instinctive traits that they have, and they often end up languishing in cages, as in the case of wild animals in circuses, which are usually kept in cages before they come out into the circus ring, and their performance in the circus ring is one that has usually been taught by not unharmful methods, I think.
Just finally, to you, Professor Beadle, we touched earlier on the part-political, part-ethical consideration. There has to be some sort of parameter. I understand what you're saying—an ethic is an ethic is an ethic, and that's it—you can't play around with that. But in legislation, there has to be some sort of line somewhere that you cross or not. So, I'm just wondering: how do you define that in law, because otherwise it's anarchy, isn't it?
I think that's absolutely right, and it's therefore particularly important to notice where the criteria are being changed, and what is being asked here, despite the mentions of slavery and caging, is whether you move the goalposts to a higher standard, and it is a higher standard—the standard of leading a good life is a higher standard; I accept that entirely and I don't dispute the scientific distinctions, of course I wouldn't, around domestic and wild animals. But you're being asked to move the goalposts in order to ban an activity, as I say, undertaken by two or three people, enjoyed by many—I think Circus Mondao said 20,000 people attended their circus in Wales last season, and I provided some figures in my work from the Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain—on the basis of establishing effectively a new ethical principle, which is this principle of leading a good life. Now, that is being interpreted in terms of leading a natural life, and I said I didn't want to turn this into an ethics seminar—you can imagine all the difficulties there, but it's a very, very big principle, and it's being applied to a very small group of people in this Bill. So, I just think it's important to be aware of the parameters.
Could I just add that the principle of living a good life isn't a new principle? It's a principle that Aristotle talked about over 2,000 years ago, and it's well considered in ethics by very prestigious philosophers, but also in the scientific arena too, and so I don't think it's a new principle. These things do have a tendency of taking a while to trickle down into non-academic life, but maybe this is a good opportunity for them to do so.
Without going off at a tangent into political philosophy, it seems to me that, as legislators, you have a balance in a liberal democracy. On the one hand, you've got to avoid the tyranny of the majority and be aware of minority interests, but on the other hand, the policies you adopt, the laws you pass, have got to have a degree of legitimacy and be acceptable to your electorate. And there are activities that—traditionally, as I said, there are umpteen activities involving animals that have been considered to be acceptable, which now are either questioned or are legislated against, because the science has changed, the attitude towards these other species has changed, and it may be that minorities are affected by that, but that doesn't mean that what is proposed or what is done is unacceptable. After all, there is nobody else to speak up for these animals apart from human beings.
But the consequence of that is to maintain a position in which it is perfectly lawful to run horses over fences and see thousands of them—again, I quoted—thousands of them died over the past decade. That's perfectly fine. Let me tell you: no animal dies in the circus ring. Human beings do, but no animal dies in the circus ring. So, whilst it's right that, yes, you are legislators, and part of your role is to push the barriers of public debate, to raise public debate to the sort of level that hopefully we're having here in terms of what are the standards to be applied, there also needs to be, for each of you, as legislators, and as members of public parties making policy, a concern for coherence. And I would just say it is incoherent to go ahead with a ban on circus animals on ethical grounds, and not go ahead on a ban when there are very, very clear welfare grounds around—the best example I can give you—horse-racing.
Okay. Jenny wants to come in now.
I just wanted to home back in between on this distinction between domesticated and wild, because, obviously, there are several species where there are good examples of both wild and domesticated. So, there are plenty of feral cats knocking around my constituency, and there are plenty of wild horses on the common land, who are completely self-sufficient—they have to be because nobody's looking after them. So, I think I'm struggling a little bit to understand how we make this distinction between wild animals when some species are both wild and domesticated.
I think it is difficult, and it's essentially a scientific issue, and none of us are scientists. There are clearly animals that are, sort of, on the cusp—the examples you give. We used to keep highland hill sheep, which would be regarded as domesticated, but they certainly weren't tame, for example, and I'm sure the same is found in Wales. Something like a dog, or a cat—yes, they can revert and look after themselves and become feral, but, in their relationship with humans, what has happened—I'm not a scientist, but my understanding of what has happened is that they have kept some characteristics. A dog has got some characteristics of the wolf, and if you look at the wolf in the wild, that helps explain canine behaviour, and dog trainers develop that and use that. The point is with dogs, and I think, to a lesser extent, with cats as well, is that they have lost a significant amount of their—they've still got wolf behaviour, but they do not act as an adult wolf would. These—we call them 'wild animals', but they are non-domesticated animals, in the sense that their behaviour, their inherent, innate behaviour, has not been changed in the way that domesticated animals have.
Thank you. We're going to come on to the definition of a wild animal later, so if we can perhaps move on. Joyce Watson.
So, moving on, and following where you've just left off, do you think, therefore, that there are sufficient ethical grounds on which to ban the use of wild animals in static circuses, because we're only dealing with travelling?
I think my point on that has already been made, that if you're just looking at travelling, you are talking an argument on welfare grounds. And, as I've already pointed out, you've had, as part of the submissions, different views on that. In terms of the ethical arguments, ethical arguments around leading a good life—clearly, wild animals, and the ones we're talking about, are nomadic, so the travelling is actually a benefit. But, certainly, in terms of the ethical arguments that have been laid in submissions about dignity of animals, about people's attitude towards animals being worsened when we see them, I think the term being used previously was 'invisible objectification', when we see them in certain contexts—those apply as much to static as to travelling; there's no distinction that makes any sense here.
So, I think if you are to be consistent within the parameters that are being placed before you, within the definition of ethics that's being placed before you, then that has to include static displays, and here I think—. Dr Humphreys talks about an application of this to animals used in film, and that as being something that would be a logical corollary of what you're doing now. And I think, on the grounds of pure philosophical coherence, her argument is absolutely right: you have to do this or not do this. By only banning specifics, you are once again falling into the potential of having an accusation of being arbitrary.
If I could just add, I don't think that we should thereby somehow try and introduce a Bill that bans the use of animals in entertainment. What I mean to suggest in my report is that there are vested interests at stake for people who use animals in entertainment and they may well be opposed to the Bill because the conditions in which animals are kept, which are used in entertainment, have analogies to the use for which animals are kept in travelling circuses.
With regards to your point about static circuses, I think there may be room. It wasn't my focus, but I think maybe there would be room to ban the use of wild animals in static circuses on ethical grounds because the conditions in which animals are kept would be reminiscent of the conditions in which they're kept in travelling circuses, albeit without the travelling—without the transporting. The claim that wild animals—and I know that that term is quite unclear, partly because the term 'wild' is quite vague in any case, but wild animals cannot fulfil their species-specific capacities in cages, and it's as simple as that. If the static circus was more like a safari park, then the case may be very different, but then it wouldn't be, by definition, a static circus in any case.
It seems to me that, although we may come to different conclusions, the ethical argument is exactly the same: if it's ethically unacceptable to train and use these animals in a travelling circus, the same applies to a static circus. So far as the welfare issues are concerned, clearly the itinerant issue is taken out of a static circus, but as far as I'm aware, most existing static circuses are in town centres, which would, I would have thought, equally give rise to—. It's not the travelling nature, but the conditions in which they're kept, from a welfare point of view, that would be questionable, it seems to me.
Yes. I can't think of one example of a static circus in which the conditions in which animals are kept are ethical, and I have seen some horrendous roadside menageries in my time, but even in this country, I can't think of an example.
Well, that's the simple—. There are no static circuses presenting wild animals. If we think about the static circuses that exist, there are only two left in the UK as a whole, and neither presents animals.
Okay. I'm going to move on, because we have to, so we are going to talk about using animals in other settings and the animal exhibits regulations. Do you consider there to be sufficient ethical grounds on which to ban the use of wild animals in other settings like animal exhibits? And particularly for Mike, given the finding of the Harris review, can you clarify whether you believe there should be a ban on using wild animals in mobile zoos on either ethical or animal welfare grounds, and why?
(A) it depends on the type of the animal. I think this is significant because it may be possible, feasible, to provide adequate standard of welfare for smaller animals, so it depends on the type of animal, it depends on the type of exhibit, but it seems to me that the starting point, rather, as was said from the precautionary principle, is that the onus should be on those who want to do it to be able to demonstrate that they can provide adequate welfare. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 imposes a legal duty on those who assume responsibility for animals to meet their basic needs. What I would say is there has to be a very good reason that would justify qualifying those needs. With a companion animal, with a pet, there is really no basis on which those welfare needs should be compromised, because nobody has to have pet. If you've got a pet, there's no commercial or economic considerations in the same way that animals are used in other aspects. So, looking at other ways in which animals are used, the question would then be: is there any justification for compromising or lowering the standards beyond that which would be expected of a companion animal?
I think also, with a lot of these things, as I mentioned in my submission, the principle of Welsh and English law is that, so far as the state is concerned, a state can do nothing except that which it's authorised to do by law, and so far as private individuals and organisations are concerned it's reversed. They have the freedom to do anything except that which is restricted by law. One of the things that's happened that underlies this whole debate, I think, is this freedom, or rather the scientific and ethical reality is beginning to catch up with this freedom. If we look at a lot of activities involving animals and assume that they hadn't previously been in existence, if someone came along today and said, 'I've had this bright idea, let's get some wild animals, non-domesticated animals, and get them to jump through hoops for the entertainment of the population', it would not get off the ground. People would think it was mad. So, the nature of the ethical debate has changed.
To answer your question with a good lawyer's answer: 'It all depends.' It depends on the animal, it depends on the use they're being put to, it depends on the circumstances in which they're being kept and exhibited.
If I can move on to Ron, the consultation document accompanying the draft animal exhibit licensing scheme states that there are differences between animal exhibits and travelling circuses with regard to the types of species kept and the conditions in which they are kept and how they are used or displayed. Can you comment on that? Have you anything further to add that you haven't already said?
I really have nothing further to add. All I would say is that, in the context of the Harris review, I would urge you to read Theodore Friend's submission, which is attached to Chris Barltrop's submission to the committee, because there are significant doubts on a variety of levels about that review, which I would hope you would become familiar with before you place too much emphasis on that review in your deliberations.
And just finally from me, does the newly proposed animal exhibit licensing scheme, which is based on animal welfare, appease any of the concerns around the exhibition of animals in other settings? Because we're only going for one setting.
Could you repeat that question?
Yes, we have a newly proposed animal exhibit licensing scheme being proposed, and it's based on animal welfare—not the ethics, but the animal welfare. Would that appease the concerns?
Any licensing scheme qualifies the absolute right of a person to do whatever they want. With a licensing scheme, the person can only carry out that activity, essentially, with the permission of the state, and in compliance with such conditions as are laid down. What a licensing scheme, therefore, does is give conditional permission for somebody to do something, the condition being that they comply with those requirements. The beauty of a licensing scheme is that it is flexible, because it allows—if a person is not meeting those requirements, the state, through enforcement agencies, can intervene either to require improvement or to qualify the licence or to revoke the licence.
Now, as we're talking about licences here, one of the significant things, of course, in respect of wild animals in circuses, is that a licensing scheme has been in operation for a number of years and is now considered—already by Scotland, on the cusp at Westminster and now here—to be no longer appropriate.
Going back to the sort of exhibition things, one of the issues that came up in discussion before a committee in one of the other legislatures was the issue of falconry, for example, and whether that was acceptable—would it be caught by this? There are those who are opposed to it, but falconry, it seems to me, is fundamentally different in two ways. One is, although they may be taking the birds to individual displays, they are not on an itinerant schedule that means that they're constantly on the move—they go out to displays and they are then returned to their home environment. Secondly, something like falconry—. Again, I'm not a falconer and I have no expertise, but it seems to me, as an informed lay person, that falconry is simply applying the natural behaviour of the bird to commands of humans—it's a very different thing.
I think I'd disagree with you about that, but that's because I am a bird lover, so there you go.
Can I just add to that, just briefly? I don't know enough about the licensing scheme, sorry, to comment fully, but if the exhibit concerns wild animals, I think that's different from if the exhibit includes domesticated animals only. I think if the exhibit includes wild animals—I suppose, going back to Ron's point about consistency's sake—I think it should fall within the remit of this Bill. If it doesn't include wild animals, then I think that's a different matter.
Okay, thank you.
I think I would support your point about birds and falconry. If you are to be consistent, then you have to include that within the purview of the Bill. When defining what activities or species or places are to be covered by the sorts of legislation we have in existence up to—what is it—20 January, so, effectively, a set of regulations and a licensing scheme, and extending those to animal exhibits, what effectively you're doing is to continue to say that it is legitimate for animals to be presented in some sort of public context. What is the difference, then, in pure ethics from the proposal around travelling circuses? I would say that I agree with you that there's absolutely no difference in principle. So, to be consistent, you need to be banning falconry. The point is that this legislation is not doing that.
Okay, thank you. Can I just remind everybody we've gone substantially over half the time we've got available and we've done substantially less than half of the areas we wish to cover? If I could just remind everybody of that. Jenny Rathbone.
Just looking at to whom the offence applies, Rebekah, you've suggested that—. Could you talk about who you think should be liable? Clearly, the possibility of detaining and fining somebody who's registered in a tax haven is rather limited, given all of the other problems we have. How do you envisage that this should be legislation that's got bite to ensure that those who are doing this, if it's against the law, will consider that the law is sufficient deterrent?
I'm not sure, really. I mean, I've made some suggestions, I know, about providing some examples as to what constitutes an 'operator', but there could be an owner, a number of owners. I definitely think that an 's' should be inserted after 'operator' so it allows for multiple persons to be held responsible. Whether line managers and managers can be held responsible, well, it's hard to say, isn't it, whether someone might say, 'I'm not an owner, I'm a manager'? But, actually, the manager and the owner—. I don't know how people might respond should they be seen to be going against the Bill.
Is this not an argument, then, for licensing rather than banning because if you have a licensing arrangement, on the licence it would say there needs to be a responsible person named and then they would have to be somebody who could be—?
No, I don't think so, because I think there's a strong ethical case for banning the use of wild animals in circuses in any case.
Okay, but practically speaking, how are we going to do this if the operator is living in the Bahamas?
I don't know. I don't know. Perhaps the term 'operator' is a bit vague and perhaps the term 'operator' could be clarified a bit more. How we do that specifically, I'm not sure. I've suggested some examples: line manager, managing supervisor or another relevant person responsible for overseeing the management of the employees within the travelling circuses. It could be that the person who oversees the management and the owner is responsible. I'm not sure how these things work in terms of the legislative aspects, sorry.
Okay. Well, we'll pursue that with other people. Could I just move on to your concern about the definition of a 'travelling circus'? Because the Bill includes provisions for Welsh Ministers to introduce regulations for the purpose of specifying what is and what isn't included in this meaning. Do you think that will potentially satisfy your concerns because, obviously, the regulations can be changed if they are deemed to be inadequate?
My answer to that is, 'I don't know.' I think, in relation to the wording of the Bill itself, my suggestion was that some clarification could be made to avoid certain loopholes, which is that someone might say that they're travelling, someone might class themselves as a travelling circus, but when the time permits and they're inspected and so on, they might say, 'Well, actually, I'm static, I'm not moving anywhere', you know? 'I'm not actually travelling at this moment in time.' And then the question will arise: well, how long is a suitable length of time? And that's why I suggested inserting 'however' between two sub-clauses, so that they're classed as a travelling circus if they exhibit animals in any sort of travelling capacity, however long they remain static in between. That's just a suggestion. I'm not an expert on writing Bills, so I'm not sure entirely.
But can I come in? If you do that, then exactly the falconry displays that Mike was just saying are a different case would fall within the definition.
Okay. Thank you for pointing that out. Mike Radford, you also said that you thought there needed to be a clearer definition of—.
Could we just come back to the definition of 'operator'? It seems to me that clause 2 is perfectly adequate and does the job in terms of drafting because the presumption will be that the owner or any other person who has overall responsibility will be held to account and clause 2(c) covers the issue if (a) and (b) aren't in the UK. It will be a question of fact rather than law who has responsibility, and somebody will clearly be, if they attempted to do this in contravention of the legislation, they have to notify—the circuses now have to notify authorities that they're moving those animals about.
Yes. They have to have planning permission.
So, I don't see an issue there. So far as the definition of a travelling circus is concerned, I will give you an example: I live north of Inverness, and in our local agricultural show on the Black Isle two or three years ago, one of the entertainments that was put on in the ring was camel racing, and these camels were based in the south of England. So, presumably, they didn't go 400, 500 miles north of Inverness just for that occasion; presumably, they were on a schedule moving around agricultural shows. The question is: would such an activity be covered by your Bill, and do you intend that it should be or not?
Well, that's a very good point, because, if it covers racing camels, why not racing horses?
Well, because they're not wild—. That comes down to the definition—in terms of drafting, the definition of a wild animal.
So, it's fine, ethically, for horses to die jumping over jumps, but not for camels.
I wasn't saying it was fine; I was simply talking in terms of legal certainty as to what you, as legislators, wish to cover. You, as legislators, can put the line wherever you want it to be. The important issue, from the question of legal certainty, so that those who may or may not be affected by this know their legal position, is that, wherever you choose to put the line, it's clear what's this side and what's that side.
Okay. Thank you for your clear example.
I think, as well, in relation to your question, again, I think I would, at this point, confer with Mike in response to what I've originally put in the report, because I don't know, probably, enough about the legislative evidence, so—.
Thank you. Moving on, Llyr Gruffydd.
Yes. Well, we're back to those parameters that I was asking about earlier, really— you know, when is an ethic not an ethic, which is, you know—. It was quite a compelling argument, I have to say. I'm just thinking about—. I saw an article in a newspaper supplement the other day about a surfing dog; the owner had put the dog on a surfboard. So, do we ban that as well? But, hey, let's—one piece of legislation at a time.
We touched earlier on the definition of wild animals, and Professor Radford explained that domestication is distinct from breeding an animal in captivity, training it and taming it, but how can we achieve that in legislation? Do we put that in regulation? Do we put it in guidance? Do we put it on the face of the Bill? What's the best way of doing that?
I think it's a very good question.
Well, that's why I'm asking it.
This term 'domesticated animal' has crept in through the 2006 Animal Welfare Act. Now, in order for an animal to come within the purview of that legislation, it has to meet one of three conditions—not all three, one of the three. The first is that it's of a kind normally domesticated in the British islands. Secondly, if it doesn't meet that, it's under the temporary or permanent control of human beings. And, if not those two, it's living in a wild state. So, this notion of 'domesticated animal' has been lifted from the Animal Welfare Act 2006, but the meaning of the term in the 2006 Act has never needed to be defined because anything that you don't think is domesticated will come under the second head: under the temporary or permanent control of human beings. So, what has happened is that an established term has been lifted and applied here without there being a clear definition of what a domesticated animal is.
I suppose the notion of 'normally domesticated'—and we could have another seminar and several days in court about what 'normally' means—but 'normally domesticated' would, I think, generally be a question of fact. For example, in some countries, a camel would be regarded as domesticated or semi-domesticated. As the law stands—it's not legislation, it was a case from before the war involving negligence—a camel bit somebody in a zoo and the court held that, in the United Kingdom, a camel can never be regarded as a domesticated animal. So, in a way, it's custom and practice, but this, then, takes us to the whole issue of what 'domesticated' means, and you'd need to take scientific advice on that. Whether you'd get agreement is another issue, but it is a scientific—. What it does not simply mean is an animal that comes from a line all of which have been bred in captivity; it's not about being tame. It is a scientific concept and I think, actually, it's something that scientists are still struggling with, along with sentience—domestication and sentience.
Professor Humphreys, you've had similar concerns. In your evidence, you've said that we need further detail. Again, how do you think that could be provided? Is it in guidance?
It's difficult, isn't it, because there are degrees—
Because, if the scientists are still arguing about it, then how do we incorporate that into any kind of legislation?
There are degrees, I think, of wildness, and the term 'wild' itself is a vague concept as well. I can see that there are virtues in having it too vague, but I can see that there are virtues in having it overly specific as well, so—.
There is a limited legislative precedent. It's not a general application, but there is the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, which requires wild animals—specified wild animals—to be licensed if they're going to be kept. This was to address the issue of people keeping large cats in their gardens and such like. Now, that legislation contains a schedule of specific types of animal that are regarded as wild for the purposes of this licensing regime, and, essentially, it is those that are considered to be potentially dangerous. And most of the sort of animals we're talking about in terms of circuses fall within that, would be on the schedule.
Now, this is an opportunity for the Assembly to take the lead, because the other legislatures are struggling with what 'domesticated' means. If you want to come up with a definition and get the others to follow, all well and good, but I'm not sure that we're the panel that can best advise you on that.
No, that's fine. Thank you, Chair.
Andrew, did you want to come in?
Yes, just very briefly. You might have answered the question in your last couple of remarks there, Michael, but should there be a schedule, then? From a simple lay person's point of view, when I looked at this wild animals in circuses Bill, I thought it would be a relatively straightforward piece of legislation. You can draw the line wherever you want, I think you're talking about here, so should there be a schedule of animals that this Bill is trying to capture that would be covered by the legislation, given the difficulty in the definitions that you've highlighted constantly, I would suggest, this morning?
The problem with lists is, by definition, anything that isn't on the list, it's still legal to use. Secondly, it means that you as a legislature have to be able to predict every type of animal that may potentially be used, and I think it would give your draughtsmen and women some sleepless—. I mean, it just makes it terribly legalistic.
You could do it the other way around, though, couldn't you? You could define the animals that were domestic and anything that was not on that list would be counted as wild and you could update, then, animals that you thought became domestic or became less domestic. So, it would be easier to do that than trying to perhaps make a list of every animal that may or may not exist.
[Inaudible.]—just reads the list.
Yes. So, wouldn't that be easier?
Yes, I think so.
Yes. It would potentially be more restrictive, because—. But I think you need to discuss that with your draughtspeople.
Okay. Sorry, moving on, Joyce Watson.
So, the impact of the ban—are there any possible unintended consequences? I know we're going to hear from Ron, but, before that, do either of you foresee any unintended consequences?
One unintended consequence might be animals ending up languishing in cages in much the same conditions that they were enduring in the travelling circus because the owners have no more use for them and are not really sure what to do with them, so they just end up in the cages in which they were kept initially and nothing really changes with regard to the good of those animals. Obviously, that's something to be avoided, I think, particularly if we're concerned about the ethical implications of the Act.
I think that issue could be covered by the Animal Welfare Act, because those who were responsible for the animals would have to meet their needs according to—. I think unintended consequences, as is always the case with drafting legislation, are in the certainty and precision of the definitions. As your colleagues have said more than once, what becomes clear with all these animal issues is, however simple they look at first sight, once you start to drill down, they become much more complicated simply because there's an infinite range of animals out there being kept for an infinite range of uses in an infinite range of ways, and therefore it's essential to be able to identify specifically what you're trying to capture—what's in and what's out—and to give clear instructions to the draughtsmen and women so that they can deliver on them.
Now, all through this circus issue, we all know in our heads what we mean by a circus. We all have a picture of what a travelling circus is. My guess would be that each of us would come up with a very similar definition, but it's not what's in people's heads; it's what stands up in court.
Yes. Thank you for the question. You're going to be hearing on 2 October from Thomas Chipperfield, who is one of the small handful of people affected directly by this legislation, so, in terms of specific impact on the people directly affected, that will give you some good guidance. My point, which is quoted in your question, about circus identity, is just for you as the relevant legislators to think through the implications of the ban. In 2005, the European Parliament passed a motion in which it regarded travelling circuses of the traditional form as a key part of European modern culture, so what, effectively, will happen as a result of this ban is that something that people for generations have been used to doing will change—and we've heard arguments for that change—so, I think that's the biggest impact. It has a specific and massive impact on those people who live their lives in circuses. This is a community where work and life are not divided as they are for most of us, and that's why, as a moral community, they've been the subject of my study—because they live a very distinctive type of life as a political community, and so they will be the people most impacted. Secondly, the 20,000-odd people who went to the circuses showing animals and so on.
I'm going to challenge what you're saying, 'as a way of life', because I can't just let you say always say what—without challenging. So, what I'm going to challenge you about is: there is nothing in this legislation saying that people can't travel and be part of a circus. What this legislation says is that they can't use wild animals to travel and be part of a circus. Because I've gone to see many, and taken my grandchildren to circuses, but absolutely ensured before they go there that there aren't any wild animals. So, I don't think—. So, I would like to just bring that into the debate, because you're defining, it seems to me, circuses as only being circuses if they have wild animals.
And I would say that in the same way as we have the principles, widely accepted across legislation in different fields, that the person who is the victim is the person who defines whether, for example, they've been bullied or harassed at work, so the people to whom we should listen are the people who have spent their lives and generations of their lives in circuses. I'll give you one quote from a book by Nell Gifford, under her previous name, Nell Stroud. She quotes a circus artist as saying, 'Circus isn't circus without that smell'—the smell of the animals. And therefore you may question it—of course you may question it. You have the duty as legislators to set the parameters of appropriate activities of what's allowable in this state. But in terms of the fact of the matter of identity, of self-understanding, that should be defined by the people themselves whose lives we're talking about, and they will define it quite differently.
Could I just interject? My view is that the Bill concerns primarily the lives of the animals and is about the use of wild animals. You mentioned humans being the victims, but surely animals have been victims for a very long time and one way in which wild animals are victims is being housed in very small cages, unable to exercise their natural tendencies and unable to carry out any sort of species-specific conditions, any species-specific interests, or fulfil their needs in that regard. So, I cannot see how the animals cannot be included as victims as well as the humans.
I would say two things. Firstly, you have legislation—welfare legislation, a licensing scheme—which can be amended in all sorts of ways in terms of expanding the amount of room animals have, changing the conditions of movement, and so on. A ban ends a way of life. So those are the choices, bluntly. And in terms of animal victimhood, I just suggest strongly to the committee to take up the invitations you've been given to go and see Circus Mondao, to go and see Thomas Chipperfield—not just inviting him here, but actually going to see for yourselves, to have a look at—. There are many bits of evidence online where you can see the conditions in which wild animals are held to get some practical understanding. This myth that the animals are permanently in small cages does not apply to circuses as such and can be dealt with, where there is abuse—and there has been abuse—in the normal way through regulation.
Do you want to come in on this, Jenny?
Thank you for pointing this out, because I think that's been an important contribution to the scrutiny. I think I need to declare that I'm chair of the cross-party group on Gypsies and Travellers at this point, because it may be relevant. And I will take up the suggestions that you're making.
Just on more specific issues around the impact of the ban, the Government's intention is to commence the ban in December 2020. So that would give approximately a year for people to—well, depending on how quickly it proceeds through the Senedd and in the context of all the other things going on politically, that may or may not occur. But I would have thought a 12-month period after the Bill becomes an Act is an appropriate time. Some people, however, are calling for an earlier commencement date and I wondered if you could just give your views on this, briefly.
I think it's reasonable that there would be a run-in period of the one that is being suggested. My understanding is, or was, that those who would be directly affected by it have been making alternative arrangements, but you can ask them when you speak to them.
Sure. But clearly, there has to be provision made for the animals too, and there's nothing in this Act to actually give powers to the authorities to take control of the animals.
No, and that's important, because this isn't about confiscating property, which is what these animals are in law. It's not about confiscating property. It's not about making it unlawful to have these animals. It's simply about the particular use to which they're being put. If they're kept in this country, then they would have to comply with other laws, like the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, like the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Okay. So, do you think that the date of commencement is reasonable?
And your colleagues?
I would go along with Michael at this point, yes.
And I would, while opposing the principle of the Act, concur that that seems sensible to me.
Okay. So, obviously, Mr Radford has argued that this isn't about confiscation, and therefore—. But do others agree that that's not what this Bill is about, or do you think there should be some provision in the Bill for the future welfare of wild animals that will no longer be allowed to perform?
It seems that there should be no specific need other than existing animal welfare legislation; I can't see the grounds on which you'd legislate new welfare legislation just for these animals. If the circumstances of these animals are such that would have an effect on other animals, then you have to go back, I think, to the animal welfare legislation, with however much time you have to do that.
If the animals remain in the United Kingdom, they will be subject to various constituent parts of the United Kingdom's laws. If they are removed from the United Kingdom, they're outside the jurisdiction and therefore any provision would be unenforceable.
Okay. That's helpful. Thank you.
Thank you for your evidence so far; very informative. The legislation the Government is talking about, if it was to proceed, is part of a raft of other measures that they're bringing forward—the animal exhibit regulations, changes to dangerous wild animals legislation, and the zoo licensing regimes. Do you believe that all this is part of a joined-up approach and is coherent, if you put those other measures together with this piece of legislation, or do you see it as a bit disjointed, assuming that you're familiar with the other regulations and changes that the Welsh Government are proposing to bring forward?
I haven't looked in detail recently to talk authoritatively on it, but I think one of the things that has happened—and it's a continuing development—is that prior to 2006, animal protection legislation was very piecemeal, and that was partly because the basic piece of legislation—the Protection of Animals Act 1911—had no enabling powers. So, it was impossible to do anything by way of regulations. If you wanted to change the law, you had to have primary legislation and, of course, up until devolution that meant getting time at Westminster. One of the things that was an intention of the animal welfare Act and its equivalents in Northern Ireland and Scotland was to introduce enabling provisions so that legislation could be brought in by statutory instrument. And it's not happened nearly as fast as, I think, Governments intended, or as the animal welfare organisations hoped, but it is part of a process of trying to make things more joined-up, and to have some principles running through it. The general principle is now in the animal welfare Act, which is that you have to have regard—you don't just assume moral responsibility for an animal, you assume legal responsibility not simply to prevent unnecessary suffering, but also to meet its needs and give it a decent quality of life. And step by step—. So, undoubtedly, the intention is that this should be a package of measures in respect of non-domesticated animals and, hopefully, it will tie together.
Thank you. Anyone else?
Hopefully, yes, there will be that element of consistency. Going back to Ron's point, this where it will be significant, isn't it, because those principles will have to tie in with each other. But I don't know enough about the other legislative things to be able to give an informed comment on that, sorry.
And the final point: obviously, we're not breaking ground with this legislation. Other countries have brought such legislation forward before us, so we can look at them and see what they've done. Are you able to offer us examples of other parts, other jurisdictions, that maybe have brought this legislation forward, and the effects of the legislation in those areas?
I think the most dramatic case is Mexico, where, as a result of the legislation, 2,000 animals died, because the legislation didn't contain provision for what was to happen to those animals afterwards. Circus attendance fell massively because the public did not want to attend non-animal circuses. The ban was withdrawn from legislation and Mexico again has animal circuses. I don't know of any other examples where that's happened, but I think it speaks to the different and culturally specific types of reception, and clearly you are taking into consideration future provision for these animals. And I'd just advise you to return to those questions when you speak to Thomas Chipperfield and other people actively engaged in these activities.
Across Europe, where bans have come have in effectively, as I understand it, most of the trainers have moved to the countries where there are no bans, and similar debates are going on—so, particularly lively in France, not as lively in Germany. But, of course, it's part of what I've been saying that ethics needs to apply if a principle is being applied. So, the same debates are happening elsewhere, and these debates obviously take their form within the particular structures of the states and levels of devolution and so on within those states. So, yes, it's important to learn some lessons, but there are specific things here that you need to bear in mind as well, and you're gathering evidence to do that, so I think that's sensible.
I think there are certain specific principles, such as ones related to dignity and the concept of dignity and its application to animals, that are applied—it's worth mentioning, I suppose—in Switzerland, for example, in Swiss constitution, in relation to genome editing of animals. And that principle underlies some of their own legislative things in relation to animals. So, I think Ron's right that there has to be this consistency throughout. And I think it's also a matter of moral progress, isn't it, that these things are all joined up and thoroughly reviewed.
I think I agree with Ron. In relation to Europe, what has happened is, in those countries where wild animals in circuses have been banned, the trainers have moved their activities to countries where it's still lawful. And here you see at work the principle under European human rights law of the margin of appreciation—that there is room for different countries, according to their traditions, their cultures, to do different things. It's not a one-size-fits-all. And what one is suggesting here is that Scotland, England, now possibly Wales, are moving with the countries in Europe that consider that this is no longer an acceptable activity. Law and legislation can—it's not always, but can be—an educative tool. It can be a means of educating and demonstrating values—not just ethics, but values—to populations. And the argument underlying this is that values—not just the ethics and the science—but values have moved on.
We are out of time, but I think, to ask one final question: your views on enforcement and powers of inspection as separate from the Bill—are they proportionate and will they work?
Depending on what the definition of a travelling circus is, they should work. The issue here—. I think they're proportionate and they're in line with similar provisions in relation to animal protection. The issue, and, as lawyers you'd expect us to come back to this, is what the Bill—what the Act—actually says in terms of definitions.
Okay, thank you. Okay. We are out of time, so can I thank all three of you for making the journey here? You will get a copy of the transcript. I suggest you check it, not because it will have anything wrong, but, occasionally, if you turn away, they sometimes miss a word, which happens to me quite often, as I move around. So, just check that they haven't missed any of the words, and thank you very much, and it's been very informative.
Thank you, Chairman, and can I say, this is the third legislature in which I've appeared before a committee on this topic, and I would congratulate the committee on the rigour of its investigation?
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much.
Thank you. Thank you all very much.
Papers to note: the Welsh Government's response to the committee's report on 'Rethinking food in Wales: Food branding and processing'; the Welsh Government's response to the committee's report on policies and proposals relating to plastic pollution and packaging waste.
I've got—. This is to do with the response to fishing tackle, which I'm trying to find now. Oh, here, this one, 5. I thought that we were hoping for a stronger response than this. I know that they say that they're working with the fishing industry to address the issue, but I'm not sure that that gives me exactly what I would like.
Perhaps we can raise that with the Minister when she comes in.
Yes. I'm just flagging it up.
Okay. The Welsh Government response to the committee's report on the Legislative Consent Memorandum and Supplementary Legislative Consent Memorandum for the Agricultural Bill, which has now been overtaken by events.
Correspondence from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs to the Llywydd in relation to the wild animals and circuses Bill; correspondence from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs to the Chair in relation to environmental principles and governance.
Can I just—? Just on that, I am rather concerned that, in the letter, the Minister says that it:
'does not mean there will be no governance arrangements in Wales, as our domestic mechanisms will continue to operate and the National Assembly for Wales will continue to be the body responsible for holding the Welsh Government to account.'
Well, I'm afraid that misses the point, because the whole point is that somebody needs to be able to prosecute and take these issues further. So, I'd just like to pick up on that when we discuss the report.
Yes, and also when we see the—next time we have scrutiny with the Minister. I'm sure that the researchers are picking these up as questions that we wish to raise.
And, finally, correspondence between the Chair and the Minister for Energy, Environment and Rural Affairs, the Minister for Economy and Transport and the Minister for Housing and Local Government in relation to the common UK policy frameworks.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Can I move a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of today's meeting? And can I suggest a five-minute break, which I desperately need, if no-one else does?
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:03.
The public part of the meeting ended at 11:03.