Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

European vets recommend ban on wild mammals in travelling circuses

6 August 2015

Categories: Circus Campaign News, Homepage News

The Born Free Foundation today welcomes a recommendation by the Federation of Veterinarians for Europe (FVE) for all European countries to ban the use of wild mammals - such as lions, tigers and elephants - in travelling circuses. 

The powerful statement, made by the group which represents 46 national veterinary organisations across 38 European countries, recommends “all European and national competent authorities to prohibit the use of wild mammals in travelling circuses across Europe since there is by no means the possibility that their physiological, mental and social requirements can adequately be met”.

The statement will come as a blow to European wild animal circuses because whilst individual national veterinary organisations, such as the British Veterinary Association, have come out in opposition to these spectacles, no statement had been made by the European profession as a whole until now. Government officials often look to representatives of the veterinary profession to advise on animal welfare, so the Born Free Foundation predicts this position will encourage national authorities to take targeted action.

Daniel Turner, Programmes Manager for Captive Wild Animals at the Born Free Foundation, said: “The veterinary profession in Europe has made its position very clear. That position sits in line with both expert animal welfare organisations and public opinion across many European countries. The use of wild animals in travelling circuses must be consigned to the history books without further delay. We are delighted to now have the FVE standing firmly beside the Born Free Foundation on this important issue for animal welfare.”

Veterinarian and Born Free Foundation Programmes Manager for Wildlife Policy, Mark Jones, added: “It’s good to see the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe adding its voice to that of the British Veterinary Association in calling for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses across Europe. It has long been evident that the incarceration, constant travelling, training, and performances these animals have to endure results in severe physical and psychological suffering. That’s something no vet should ever countenance. There can be no excuse for this kind of animal abuse in 21st Century Europe. The use of wild animals in circuses must end.”

There are currently 23 countries worldwide that have implemented full nationwide bans on the use of wild animals in circuses. Within the EU, nine countries have introduced outright bans on the use of all animals in circuses, while a further nine have partial bans.

Opinion polls carried out in various EU countries repeatedly show the public wants to see the use of wild animals in circuses banned. In June 2015, the results of a Scottish Government public consultation revealed 98% of respondents wanted a ban. A poll carried out in Ireland in 2014 found that only 28% of people thought it was acceptable to use wild animals in circus shows. Similarly, 64.4% of German citizens and 57% of French citizens want to see a ban.  

The Born Free Foundation has worked in partnership with the RSPCA, The British Veterinary Association and the Captive Animals’ Protection Society for many years in pursuit of a ban on the use of wild animals in UK circuses.

Read the FVE Statement here

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