WORCESTER News readers delivered a strong verdict on the use of animals in circuses - with more than 90 per cent believing it should be banned.

Some 173 people cast their votes in our online poll at worcesternews.co.uk, launched for 24 hours on Wednesday asking whether the UK should ban the use of animals in circuses.

The poll corresponded with the fact that the same day, Italy became the 41st country to pass a national law prohibiting animals in circuses - with an estimated 100 circuses using about 2,000 animals in the country.

The results show, just nine per cent thinking animal acts should continue and 91 urging them to be banned.

Readers took to the Worcester News Facebook page to voice their opinion, with dozens of people commenting and 60 people reacting to the post.

Natalie Collison said: "Of course. When will humans realise they don't have the monopoly on feelings and thoughts and free will. But then we all have to go out to work for the ring master aka the Government."

Emily James said: "It’s cruel and draconian. Taking advantage of animals in this day and age should be long gone."

But Gillian Hoskins said: "As long as its not cruel the way they train them. Dogs are trained and horses, nobody says any thing about them."

In England, the government has stated that it remains committed to a ban but has given no indication as to when the legislation, drafted and scrutinised back in 2013, will be introduced.

In Scotland, the government has introduced a bill to ban wild animals in circuses which has progressed to Stage 2 for further scrutiny. Animal Defenders International and local supporters are urging Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) to back the legislation.

In Wales, the government has recently consulted on mobile animal exhibits and asked whether a ban on wild animals in circuses should be considered.

Also, in Ireland, a private members bill to ban wild animals in circuses will be debated on November 21.