France’s environment minister has announced a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, to take effect ‘over the next few years’.
The motion will eventually prohibit the presentation and manipulation of wild animals in travelling circuses across the country, in addition to keeping dolphins and killer whales in captivity in marine parks and the raising of mink on fur farms.
Barbara Pompili, France’s minister of ecological transition, announced the upcoming ban in a press conference today, September 29, dubbing it a ‘progressive end’ to a cruel industry.
The package comes as a series of measures tackling the ‘welfare of captive wildlife’, with the minister noting that ‘our era has changed in its attitude to wild animals’, The Brussels Times reports.
Pompili added: ‘It is time that our ancestral fascination with these wild beings no longer translates into situations where their captivity is favoured over their welfare.’
Bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals will no longer be permitted in travelling attractions ‘within the next few years’. ‘Setting a date does not solve all the problems, I prefer to put in place a process to make it happen as soon as possible,’ the minister said.
It’s worth noting that there are around 500 wild animals in French circuses across the country. However, Pompili has urged that ‘solutions will be found on a case-by-case basis, with each circus, for each animal’. The minister also assured that they wouldn’t simply be released.
The ban only applies to travelling shows, so wild animals are still permitted for use in zoos and other types of events.
Starting immediately, France’s three marine parks, also known as dolphinariums, won’t be allowed to breed or bring in any new killer whales or dolphins. Instead, existing parks are set to become sanctuaries for the animals, with 7–10 years earmarked to plan for the species’ future.
In order to help the workers, the French government will release an €8 million package ‘for the retraining of circuses and dolphinarium staff’.
Pompili explained: ‘We are asking [the circuses] to reinvent themselves, this is going to be a period when they will need support, and the state is going to be at their side. That transition will be spread over several years, because it will change the lives of many people.’
While around 400 local French authorities have already banned wild animals in travelling circuses, this move will put the country in line with more than 20 other European countries, including the UK.
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The Brussels Times
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