Animals in

Lion Govani was found severely neglected
in a small cage car from a Spanish circus.

Exploited for entertainment

Who hasn’t seen the images: lions jumping through hoops in a circus, a tiger ‘acting’ in a movie, a dressed-up Barbary macaque that has to have his picture taken with tourists…

At AAP we take in many animals that have been exploited to entertain people, such as the badly neglected circus lion Govani. He was malnourished, covered in wounds and had even bitten off a piece of his own tail due to stress. AAP is committed to combating this kind of animal suffering and is fighting for a European ban on wild animals in circuses.

Animal cruelty

The circus is still a common form of entertainment in Europe. Still thousands of wild animals, such as monkeys, tigers and lions, are forced to perform and entertain people.

This may look innocent to the public, but the animals do not exhibit this unnatural behavior lightly: it is often preceded by cruel training methods.

Before and after the shows, the animals are often locked up for long periods (alone) in cramped circus trailers, in which they are also transported when the circus travels to a new place.

Lion Govani in the filthy cage of a circus.


In our rescue centers we see what this life as an “entertainer” does to an animal: the vast majority of tigers, lions and monkeys from circuses have health problems, behavioral problems and / or have been neglected. They are, for example, scrawny, lick themselves excessively, have deformed bones or pulled out claws and teeth.

It would also be much better for public safety to ban wild animals in circuses, because accidents happen regularly. For example, from 1997 to 2021, there have been 478 incidents involving 889 wild circus animals. Examples include elephants falling on the audience stand, tigers attacking their trainer, or accidents on the highway after which wild animals roam loose.

The solution

AAP is working hard for a European ban on wild animals in circuses. Partly thanks to AAP’s efforts, the Netherlands already has a ban on exotic mammals in circuses since 2015. Also a good number of other EU countries, thanks in part to the pressure of AAP and other animal welfare organizations, have already imposed a (partial) ban.

Time for a ban

But as long as circuses with wild animals are allowed in some EU countries, the problems remain throughout the EU. Then the animals are still transported through Europe, on their way to the EU countries where they are still allowed to perform. High time for a ban in the entire European Union!


Curious about which countries already have a ban on wild animals in circuses? Or which ones do not yet? Check the map to see the current status per EU country.
The story of lion Govani
Lion Govani was used in a Spanish circus along with his companion Silas and tiger Keni. When the circus stopped performing with wild animals, they were left behind in their filthy cage car full of poop.

Of the three, Govani was in the worst shape. Not only was he extremely thin, but his claws had been pulled out, his teeth knocked out and from all the stress he had bitten off a piece of his own tail.

At AAP he was able to recover. Unfortunately, in 2023 we had to euthanize Govani.


EfA report on wild animals in circuses
Trauma in former circus animals