Paris vows to ban use of wild animals in circuses

Authorities in the French capital have pledged to ban the use of wild animals in circuses following the recent shocking incident when a tiger which had escaped from a Paris circus had to be shot and killed by its owner.

Paris vows to ban use of wild animals in circuses

The city of Paris on Wednesday pledged to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, in a move welcomed as a “small step forward” by animal welfare experts.

Criticism has grown in France of the inclusion of exotic animals in some circus shows, and 65 municipalities have already banned them.

City lawmakers voted Wednesday to support a motion proposed by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo saying they were “unanimously committed to a city without wild animals in circuses.”

But they didn't set a deadline and left the final decision on any ban to the government.

The French state has yet to proscribe wild animals in circuses, a practice that is already outlawed in 19 other European countries.

The welfare debate resurfaced last November when a tiger that escaped from a Paris circus was shot and killed by its owner.

The incident shocked the public and animal rights groups increased pressure on French authorities to ban circuses from using wild animals in their shows.

“What happened could have resulted in far more serious consequences,” Christophe Marie, spokesperson for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation told The Local.
France under pressure to ban circus animals after killing of tiger in Paris
“These animals aren't getting what they need. They're depressed because they are trapped in tight spaces and forced to do the same movements every day.”
“We are already seeing a change in society — people are starting to question the relationship between humans and animals. France must respond in the same way as other countries and ban animals from circuses altogether.”
Ecologist Jacques Boutault said: “Wild animals in circuses are not well treated. They are exploited for fun and this is hitting home to more and more Parisians,” said 

He said that Wednesday's decision was “a small step forward even if it does not go far enough” as national lawmakers must vote through any eventual ban.


France’s Asterix park to shut down dolphin show

A major amusement park in northern France said on Monday it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium, the day before lawmakers start to debate new animal welfare rules.

France's Asterix park to shut down dolphin show
France has long discussed imposing stricter rules on using wild animals in amusement parks. Illustration photo: AFP

The dolphin shows are a popular attraction at Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, but have long been a target of animal rights activists.

“We've been thinking about this for several years,” the park's managing director Nicolas Kremer told Le Parisien newspaper, saying the site wanted to focus instead on rides and other shows.

He said the dolphins would be transferred to other aquariums in Europe in the next two months, adding: “Reintroduction in a natural environment is not possible for these animals raised in captivity.”

A ban on captive breeding of dolphins and other marine mammals as well as their use in shows is a key part of the draft law, with the debate due to begin on Tuesday.

A previous effort to outlaw the practices by decree in 2017 was thrown out by the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, but animal rights group have kept up pressure for the ban.

“These associations think that captivity is abuse, but I can tell you that we have always ensured the wellbeing of our animals,” Kremer said.

The park, based on the beloved Asterix the Gaul comics, is hoping to reopen for the busy summer season on April 3rd if coronavirus restrictions are lifted by then.

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