A new French law prohibits the use of wild animals in the circus


Photo: Becky Phan

The use of wild animals in live performances and modern circuses has been common practice for over a century. However, thanks to decades of animal advocacy, the custom is becoming less and less common. In light of a recent landmark vote in France, it became the latest country to officially ban the use of animals in traveling circuses and other live shows. The law will take effect immediately, but its policy states that all performances must be ceased within two years. Possession of circus animals or any other wildlife used for shows will become illegal in seven years.

The new legislation also protects other species of wildlife in addition to the lions, tigers, bears and elephants commonly seen in circuses. Dolphin and marine shows are included in the ban, with the government announcing that the country’s three existing facilities cannot breed or import new dolphins or killer whales for their shows. Mink farming has also been banned and any operating operator is required to stop this practice immediately. The penalties for animal cruelty have also been increased, with fines of up to 75,000 euros ($ 85,000) and the possibility of up to five years in prison.

The ban, which has been debated since 2020, does not include wild animals in other types of permanent shows and zoos. It also leaves out several cultural practices such as hunting and bullfighting, which has led some animal rights activists to question whether the ban goes far enough. On the flip side, there has also been some setback on the part of circus owners and other performers. However, the new legislation has been generally welcomed. In light of this radical change, the French government has pledged to allocate 8 million euros (US $ 9.2 million) to help people working in the affected sectors make the transition and find another job.

Heralded as “a historic milestone in the fight for animal rights,” the changes in France will bring the country in line with more than 20 other European countries that have already banned or severely restricted the use of wild animals for entertainment . Some circuses in these regions have already got creative and started replacing their live animals with futuristic holograms. With new technologies advancing every day, it will be interesting to see how circuses and similar entertainment events continue to gradually transform.

A new law in France prohibits the use of wild animals in the circus.

h / t: [IFLScience]

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