Thursday 13 July 2023 | 4

The State has decided: permanent circuses and cheap zoos are coming

The State has decided: permanent circuses and cheap zoos are coming

Mis à jour le 23 October 2023

We have been warning of this danger for four years. It is here: the ministerial decree has just appeared and confirms the fact that competency certificates (a way into allowing the keeping of wild animals) for circuses and other travelling trainers are equal to those for settled establishments; in other words, zoos. A critical analysis... of the law and the consequences for animals.

Hr blog

One Voice: a whistle blower on circuses

As a precursor in France on this subject, the Association has been defending elephants, bears, hippopotamuses, lions, and tigers in circuses in particular for almost twenty-five years. Our expertise has been developed over the experience we have gained by fighting for them.

Some are born free and captured, others are born behind bars; all are forcefully subdued from their first weeks of life, shut into lorries day and night, transported from town to town whether it be in stifling heat or wintry cold... What undignified and humiliating treatment must they suffer, once they are an adult, for them to be left like this? When you are a tiger, a family of lions, or an elephant, it takes terror to be submissive to primates in this way...

The business of lies

This is what the circus trainers have been hiding from the public, journalists, and public decision-makers since the dawn of time, and what we as advocates for animals and the planet strive to prove with forceful videos of this abuse, which we have referred to the legal system to ensure, not only that the law be respected, but also improved.

Preserving the natural habitat of these vulnerable species

These demeaning shows sell a misleading reality, in which those being held captive and exploited are happy in such a situation, and in which it is normal to show this to our children. In reality, it is the survival of an archaic tradition that we should be ashamed of. That of the uninhibited and absolute domination of humans over non-humans. Incidentally, it takes these creatures away from their natural habitat despite them being in serious decline.

A flimsy law

In 2019, already, during discussions at the Ministry for the Ecological Transition to prepare for measures being announced for wildlife being kept captive in lorries and circuses, and the law that followed in November 2021, we explained the risk of zoos being obtained at a discounted rate whilst travelling circuses are settling. And this is, no more or less, what is happening before our eyes with the publication, on 13 July 2023, of the ministerial decree establishing an equivalence between competency certificates for circus trainers and those from zoos, thus now allowing trainers to obtain competency certificates for animals that they could not keep previously in travelling circuses, such as giraffes for example. It will not take much more to trample all over the zoo decree of 2004.

The most obvious negative effect of this law is that is has given the impression to the whole of France (or even Europe) that it would represent a major step forward for animals, even though it was only a façade did nothing but discourage goodwill and made little difference to people’s actions. Just like in 2015 with the inclusion of animal sentience in the law, without changing their status as movable property.

Sordid winter living spaces soon to be considered as zoos

With this new law, it is a further step towards minuscule living spaces over winter in places considered as zoos, as the Médrano Circus in Aimargues attempted (unsuccessfully thanks to our vigilance).

But what we prevented then may soon be unpreventable in future... Because after an equivalent competency certificate, we foresee harmful changes to come on regulatory standards being dragged down with the trampling of the 2004 decree regulating zoos.

The State is an accomplice in exploitation

We condemn the deafening silence and inaction of the Ministry regarding sanctuaries for large land or sea mammals, as well as their delay in publishing implementing decrees of the law, particularly regarding the reproduction of big cats. Only the one on the CNCFSC was published. In the meantime, circus trainers are getting rid of elephants and making big cats reproduce with all their might to feed trafficking.

We will keep rallying for all captive animals in circuses and are asking for accountability from the Ministry who is supposed to be in charge of protecting them.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

Against all odds for Samba, the last ‘circus’ elephant, whose suffering has broken the State’s indifference We will defend the animals from the Franco-Belge Circus before the courts.

Comments 4

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Angèle | Tuesday 01 August 2023

Une honte pour la France!!
Une honte pour ce gouvernement qui se targue de s'intéresser au "bien-être" animal dans les discours, seulement....

URSA | Thursday 27 July 2023

J'ai déjà eu l'occasion de voir SAMBA au repos, à l'écart des autres animaux, complètement isolée. C'est affligeant. L'inaction des ministères est indigne.

trochu | Monday 17 July 2023

Oui, honteux et scandaleux un tel ministère de soi disant "l'écologie" qui n'en a que le nom comme d'habitude, les combats doivent continuer de plus belle et les actions en justice ne doivent pas faiblir, ça démontre à nouveau le manque total de considération envers tous les êtres vivants. Continuons d'informer les populations et les autorités afin que la présence des animaux dans les cirques soit définitivement interdite partout en France mais aussi dans les autres pays qui l'autorisent. Ces animaux doivent vivre dans leurs milieux naturels.

Corax | Monday 17 July 2023

Face à l'inconscience complice de nos dirigeants, il faut selon moi continuer et intensifier les actions en justice devant chaque cas de maltraitance (donc quasi chaque cas relatif aux animaux sauvages dans les cirques). C'est la seule voie possible. Et agir au niveau européen devant les régulières violations nationales.