1 million Europeans want to ban the use of wild animals in circuses

Handover of most succesful animal petition ever

During a ceremony in front of the European Commisson headquarters, Eurogroup for Animals and its members, along with InfoCircos, celebrated the one million citizens demanding an end to circus suffering. The signatures were handed over to representatives of the European Parliament, Elonora Evi MEP and Anja Hazekamp MEP, who submitted them to the European Commission.

The petition had been initially started by InfoCircos and was later integrated in the Eurogroup for Animals Stop Circus Suffering campaign. Together with 80 other members of Eurogroup for Animals, AAP has called on its supporters to sign the petition. By adding a similar petition from Swedish animal welfare organization Djurens Rätt to the result, more than a million signatures have been collected. This massive support confirms what opinion polls and scientific opinions have been pointing out for a while: wild animals in circuses are destined to a life of physical abuse and mental torture and there’s no more room for this cruel entertainment. 

Miserable lives
“The road crash of a circus trailer on a Spanish highway in 2018, which left one elephant dead and four injured, wandering haphazardly on the road, was the last straw and the beginning of this petition. The public outrage that followed this incident made it clear that European citizens have had enough of wild animals being abused in circuses. Today we celebrate the one million people that have signed our petition, who want to help all the wild animals that still live miserable lives in circuses and who die knowing nothing but a life of deprivation and suffering. It is time for the European Commission to listen to EU citizens and put an end to the use of wild animals in circuses”, says Marta Merchan, director of the Spanish branch of AAP, on behalf of the InfoCircos coalition.

The handover of the petition in Brussels

Effective solution
Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals, accompanied by Eleonora Evi MEP, Anja Hazekamp MEP and Marta Merchan, presented the petition’s accomplishment and explained the Stop Circus Suffering campaign’s next steps. “One million citizens have spoken, now we need to turn this public mobilisation into political engagement. Only an EU wide ban can guarantee the end of this outdated entertainment and provide a coherent and effective solution to the physical and emotional suffering of wild animals in circuses.” 

Moving around Europe
Several EU Member States still don’t have any restrictions in place, or only partial ones, on the use of wild animals in circuses. Moreover, circuses are travelling entertainment services moving around Europe, and performing wild animals are transported across Member States, where circuses pose severe public safety and animal health and welfare risks, as explained in the latest report Wild Animals in EU Circuses : Problems, Risks and Solutions

EU wide ban necessary
David van Gennep, CEO of AAP, is happy that many Dutch citizens signed the petition as well. “We have had such a circus ban for wild animals in The Netherlands since 2015, but hauling animals across Europe –  also through the Netherlands if it suits them – remains a very bad thing. That’s why we call for an EU wide ban, since bans at the national level won’t prevent these movements with all the associated health and security risks. Besides of course all the stress for the animals in those trucks, on their way to the next show in which they are forced to perform. That really should be stopped.”

Other news