Spain approves law banning wild animals in circuses

29 March 2023


Born Free welcomes news that the Spanish government has approved the law on the Protection of Animal Rights and Welfare.

A tiger taking part in a circus performance

Image by Clarence Alford from Pixabay 

The new law will finally bring about a complete prohibition of wild animals in circuses throughout the entire country and follows many years of campaigning by the InfoCircos coalition of NGOs, whose perseverance has already seen 12 of the country’s 17 regions bring in localised bans.

There is strong and growing public opposition to the use of wild animals in circuses, which has led to more and more European countries bringing in prohibitions, helping to phase out this outdated industry, and the associated trade of wild animals such as big cats, which often end up being sold as exotic pets.

The new legislation also includes plans to introduce a ‘positive’ list system which would restrict the species that can be kept as exotic pets in Spain. A number of countries, including within Europe, have adopted or are in the process of implementing ‘positive lists’ for pet keeping, which only permits the keeping of species on the list. Such a system has the potential to significantly reduce the scale and scope of exotic pet trade and keeping, while also adopting a precautionary approach. Any species included on a positive list should meet criteria relating to animal welfare, conservation, human and animal health and safety and environmental risks.

“These are important steps forward for captive wild animal welfare in Spain, which will hopefully further encourage other countries to take similar action” said Sarah Jefferson, Born Free’s Captivity Campaigns Information Coordinator.

Circuses & Performing Animals      WILD ANIMALS AS PETS