Ban the use of wild animals in circuses

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On Easter Monday 2018 there was a road crash in Spain involving five circus elephants. It left one elephant dead and two severely injured. It was only a matter of chance that no people were hurt. Despite the tragic incident, the four remaining elephants continued to be hauled across Europe to perform. At the end of 2020, another one of the elephants died from poor health. Two weeks later, the three remaining circus elephants were back on the road again. 

This wasn't an exceptional case. Hundreds of circuses are still touring with thousands of wild animals across the EU, carrying with them similar stories of dangerous incidents and silent suffering. These tragedies could have been avoided - that’s why I’m calling for the use of wild animals in circuses to be banned in the European Union.

Recent reports show shocking incidents involving the public and wild animals in circuses across Europe. These often involve circuses and animals which travel all around the continent endangering the health and safety of European citizens. In Spain for example, one hippo has already managed to escape six times.

The elephants involved in the Easter Monday incident were on their way to their next performance location with Spanish Circus Gottani. They had been smuggled out of Germany and were transported to France, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland and, eventually, Spain. The family who owns the elephants has a record of negligent behavior which has led to several incidents.

The large majority of EU Member States has already banned or severely restricted the use of wild animals in circuses. But as long as there is no EU-wide ban, circuses with wild animals can continue to travel across the continent to the countries where their performance is still allowed. The veterinary community has already urged the European and other competent authorities to simply prohibit the use of wild mammals in travelling circuses. We too are calling for the end of the practice.

It is time for the European Union to act. Only this can guarantee a solution to the physical and emotional suffering of wild animals in circuses and to the related public security risks.

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