Animal Rights

Madrid bans circuses with wild animals

Il comune di Madrid ha finalmente deciso di vietare gli spettacoli di circo “con esibizione di animali selvatici”.

It seems quite grotesque that in 2017 some people are still willing to pay to see wild animals performing unnatural, humiliating and dangerous actions. It’s no secret that animals in circuses are kept in slavery, forced to endure physical and psychological sufferance and trained with coercive methods including violence and food deprivation. Fortunately, the number of visitors is dropping significantly and circuses are destined to disappear as an increasing number of cities all around the world are banning the use of wild animals in shows.

circus monkey
Fewer and fewer people go to circuses that use wild animals © China Photos/Getty Images

Madrid is on animals’ side

Just like dominoes, Madrid is the latest of a series of cities banning animal shows around the world. The municipality of Madrid led by Mayor Manuela Carmena, elected with the party Podemos, has banned circus shows with wild animals. “Animals have the right not to be subjected to cruel acts that cause them sufferance, anxiety and stress,” reads the draft law that bans animals in circuses. Madrid is the last of 300 Spanish cities, including Barcelona and Cadiz, to ban this kind of show.

circus tiger
Circuses mainly use large animals, including elephants, gib cats, monkeys and esotic animals China © Photos/Getty Images

Recognising animals’ rights

The ban, voted by the majority of the Municipal Plenary, represents a victory for animals and the organisations that have been fighting for animal rights for years. “In circuses, animals live in captivity and are kept in cages where they can hardly move, against their most basic physical needs,” said the spokesman of the party Ahora Madrid. “Despite some of the animals are born in captivity, they still have natural instincts that trainers want to eliminate, forcing them to act unnaturally”.

The example of South America and Central America

Numerous countries in South America and Central America have adopted similar legislations demonstrating higher awareness than the rest of the world. Bolivia paved the way in 2009 (also banning the use of pets), and Peru, Paraguay, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil followed suit. Ecuador and Chile could soon join them.

circus lion
Animals in circuses are kept in slavery and are forced to act unnaturally © Gaetan Luci/Palais Princier via Getty Images

Italy lags behind

While numerous cities and countries are banning circus with wild animals, Italy takes the opposite direction. It recently decided to increase funds destined to these shows. Despite most of Italians are contrary to circuses with animals (71.4 per cent of the population according to Eurispes), the government increased funds to circuses, from 4.5 million euros in 2016 to 4.9 million in 2017. Fortunately, many Italian municipalities and provinces have banned circuses with wild animals, but a national law is needed for them to enter into force.

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