Famous circus says it will no longer have animals

Red and orange circus tent with blue caravan and truck in foreground
Joseph Bouglione Circus has decided to stop working with animals

Family say they can no longer offer such spectacles if many French families are against them

Circuses with animals could see their days numbered as the Joseph Bouglione circus in Paris has decided it will no longer work with animals and will return to ‘traditional circus’.

Andre Bouglione, the family owner, told animal charity 30 Millions d’Amis: “Our animals are getting old so we either get young ones and start again for 10 or 20 years or we find a way to do something else.”

Bouglione is one of the best-known circuses in France with its lions, elephants and dromedaries and he said the decision had been difficult as they loved working with them but he also knew that people were not happy.

“A poll said 80% of people support the animal cause and if a large majority of families support animals we cannot offer a spectacle that upsets them.”

He added: “"Most circuses should not have animals because they treat them badly. It's my opinion. I do not pretend to tell the other circuses that they have to stop having animals. But I think my approach can force the traditional circus to question itself because there have been problems for 20-30 years.”

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The Bouglione ban comes after the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus in the US closed after pressure from animal rights groups there.

So far about 40 towns in France ban animals with circuses and 30 Millions d’Amis has a petition calling for the end of exploitation of wild animals in this way. It has received just short of 200,000 signatures.

Residents in the Somme town of Doullens have launched their own petition asking the mayor to ban circuses with animals after a lion attacked one of the Buffalo Circus trainers in the ring during a performance in the town at the beginning of May. The petition has been signed by 19,300 people.

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