A petition calling for a ban on the use of animals in circuses, led by Eurogroup for Animals, has recently hit 1,000,000 signatures and has been handed over to representatives of the European Parliament. Started in 2018 by InfoCircos, a coalition of animal and wildlife welfare groups, the petition played a key role in Eurogroup for Animals’ Stop Circus Suffering Campaign. Working together, 81 organisations have promoted the petition and collected signatures, confirming what public polls and scientific research has shown us all along – that wild animals do not belong in circuses.
The sad truth is that 254 circuses across 14 European countries still use wild animals. France is estimated to hold 500 wild animals in 158 circuses, closely followed by Germany with 75 circuses currently housing 200 animals. Elephants, lions, tigers, zebras, primates, bears, rhinoceroses, giraffes and even hippopotamuses are transported across countries, physically and mentally tortured in the name of entertainment. Unnatural methods of restraint and control are frequently used such as bull hooks, whips and electric prods, and animals are kept in extremely restricted conditions without access to their natural family groups, diet or behavioural repertoire. These distressing and frustrating conditions often cause them to perform stereotypic behaviours – repetitive, invariant behaviours not seen in the wild, such as pacing, swaying and even self harming, as a way of coping with their environment.
GAWF are proud members of Eurogroup for Animals and in 2012, after a six year campaign backed by over 50 Greek animal protection groups, the Greek government became the second European country to ban the use of all animals in circuses. We are extremely proud to have played a key role in putting an end to the suffering of circus animals in Greece. It’s time for the rest of Europe to follow suit, and set an example to the rest of the world, that animals suffering for human entertainment is not acceptable.
To read Eurogroup for Animals’ full report ‘Wild Animals in EU Circuses: Problems, Risks and Solutions’ please click here