In France, a critical decision just took place that will prohibit the use of animals in live circus acts beginning in 2023. Historically, circus acts have included tigers, lions, and bears, but once the prohibition is in force, such displays will be unlawful. While the Republic on the Move (LREM) party welcomed the prohibition as “a historic stride in the animal rights battle,” some are asking if it goes far enough, as bullfighting would still be legal under the new regulation.
Performances will stop in two years, and the possession of “circus” animals will be outlawed after seven years, according to the regulation. Dolphin displays and mink farming, both of which have been forbidden, are among the other species protected by it. In two years, wild animal performances will forbid, and possessing them will prohibit in seven years. The new legislation also increases penalties, with anyone found guilty of mistreating animals facing fines of up to €75,000 euros ($85,000) and up to five years in jail.
Some, on the other hand, are dissatisfied that traditional activities like hunting and bullfighting left out, two volatile subjects that fiercely supported in some regions of the nation while being outlawed in others. Following a similar choice in 2017, Germany’s renowned Circus Roncalli came to the stage in 2018 using spectacular holograms to replace live animals.
Under the broad-reaching animal rights legislation that has been debated since 2020, wild animal performances would be illegal in two years and their ownership will prohibited in seven. Once passed by President Emmanuel Macron, the measure would outlaw live dolphin exhibitions for the next five years and put a stop to mink farming, thereby shutting down the country’s only operator.
The measure was dubbed “a historic breakthrough in the animal rights fight” by Macron’s moderate Republic on the Move (LREM) party. Circus owners condemned it, but environmentalists felt it did not go far enough.
“A tremendous breakthrough for the animal rights movement in France,” said the foundation of France’s most famous animal supporter, veteran actor Brigitte Bardot. In addition to the provisions aimed at circuses, the new law would increase the maximum penalty for animal mistreatment to five years in jail and a fine of 75,000 euros ($85,000), as well as tightening regulations on the selling of pets.
Other difficult subjects not covered within the scope of the legislation, which had cross-party support in both chambers of parliament, according to LREM co-sponsor Loc Dombreval. “There will undoubtedly come a day… when we will debate difficult matters like hunting, bullfighting, or other animal-rearing techniques,” the politician, who is also a veterinarian, added.