A DUP pledge to ban wild animals in circuses in Northern Ireland has been welcomed by animal protection groups.
A policy paper launched by the party last month said Northern Ireland must adopt a zero-tolerance approach to those who abuse animals.
The pledge has now been hailed by by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN).
Jan Creamer, president of ADI, said they were “delighted that the DUP is the first party to announce a clear manifesto commitment to end the use of wild animals in circuses”.
“The DUP are true leaders when it comes to progressive advocacy on issues of animal protection,” added ARAN’s John Carmody.
Currently there are no circuses with wild animals based in Northern Ireland. However, those in the Republic cross the border to tour.
North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said: “The DUP is committed to challenging cruelty in Northern Ireland and banning wild animals in circuses will be a significant step forward.
“DUP councillors have been campaigning on this issue for many years, and I look forward to continuing our work with Animal Defenders International and ARAN so Northern Ireland can join the 30 countries that have already taken action.”