The position of the European Commission does not conflict with the European Parliament's request for action. However, the debate showed a wave of political support to end the suffering of wild animals used in entertainment, and consideration of the demands of the public and civil society.
Last October, the Eurogroup for Animals and its members, as well as InfoCircos , handed over the 1 million signatures collected through the Stop Circus Suffering campaign to representatives of the European Parliament, Eleonora Evi, MEP and Anja Hazekamp, MEP.
Today, a "European Union ban on the use of wild animals in circuses" has been ordered.
of the day of the plenary sitting with an oral question: "Does the Commission intend to introduce a ban on the use of wild circus animals in the EU in order to ensure that exposure to risks illegal wildlife trade and risks to public health and safety is uniformly mitigated across all Member States. It is also a question of guaranteeing support for the application of national restrictions for the majority of Member States which already apply them? "
The representative of the EC made it clear that this was an ethical issue over which only Member States (MS) were competent. While there are concerns about the welfare of wild animals used in circuses, it is only up to Member States to act, which is why he urged them to follow those who have already implemented bans. MEPs from all political backgrounds and from various member states responded
to this statement and urged the EC not to hide behind a lack of competence.
They stressed the need to listen to citizens and base the decision on science: in circuses, wild animals are not only imprisoned and forced to behave abnormally, they also pose a threat to the risk of disease transmission, accidents that affect trainers and the public, and the use of endangered species could become a reason to fuel their illegal trade. New animal-free circus shows could keep the tradition alive without inflicting unnecessary suffering on animals and losing nothing in terms of creativity and performance.
“We welcome the strong cross-partisan support from the EP and the call for the Commission not to hide behind a lack of competence, as several grounds could be used to enact a ban. We will not stop our efforts until the EC acts to protect all the wild animals currently trapped for 'entertainment', their welfare is a European responsibility and we will make their voices heard , ”commented Reineke Hameleers , CEO of the Eurogroup for Animals.
Yesterday, AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection, a member organization of the Eurogroup for Animals, signed a contract with the Portuguese authorities to save almost all remaining wild animals from Portuguese circuses. The Portuguese national ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, enacted in 2018, will come into full force in 2024. To facilitate law enforcement, AAP has offered appropriate rescue solutions for all animals in remaining wild circus; which most circuses have accepted.
“The lifeguard community is always ready to step in and offer solutions to law enforcement authorities in the implementation of these important prohibitions.
But we must not forget that this cruel and dangerous use of wild animals in circuses is inherently a cross-border issue, just like the rescue of these animals. We are being asked to coordinate rescues across the EU, as there are no mechanisms in place for this. These cross-border issues are still left to the Member States alone to deal with at national level, although they obviously require a European solution. We really need the EU to step up and play its coordinating and harmonizing role in this area, ” added David vanGennep, CEO of AAP.
Text of the oral question
European Campaign Stop
the suffering of circuses Read the report Wild animals in EU circuses: problems, risks and solutions
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