By Chris Havergal
Use of wild animals such as lions and elephants in circuses should be banned, according to Cambridge's MP.
Julian Huppert has co-sponsored a bill which could consign the practice of using the beasts for entertainment to the history books.
The legislation will have its second reading in the House of Commons tomorrow.
The city council has already banned animals from performing in travelling shows in Cambridge and Dr Huppert wants this rolled out across the rest of the country.
He said: "Our country has come a long way in recent years and yet we still allow circuses which provide wild animals for entertainment – a practice that takes us back to the Victorian era.
"This has no place in a civilised society and this should have ended a long time ago. These animals often live in cramped cages causing untold mental stress – it is nothing short of cruel.
"I hope by bringing this issue back into the heart of government we can end it once and for all. We need a ban enforceable by law – we cannot go on expecting the industry to self-regulate."
Dr Huppert has also written to the environment secretary and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport calling for action on the issue.