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UK Bans Traveling Circus Animals

A circus tiger jumps through a ring of fire
A circus tiger jumps through a ring of fire. (Image credit: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-68339p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Sergey Petrov</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>)

Traveling circuses in the U.K. are now barred from using exotic animals such as tigers and elephants in their acts.

The new law bans wild animals, but domesticated animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits and horses will still be allowed. 

Circuses have until 2015 to comply with the law, the Washington Times reported. Only two circuses, which have 20 wild animals, currently operate in the U.K., according to the Washington Times.

The ban was motivated in part by the plight of Anne, a now 60-year-old elephant. In 2011 the animal rights advocacy group Animal Defenders International recorded footage of Anne being beaten by a groom at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus. The owners of the circus were convicted of causing suffering to the animal.

Anne is now retired and living at Longleat Safari Park in the U.K. 

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Tia Ghose

Tia is the assistant managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com and other outlets. She holds a master's in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.