Paris votes to ban circuses with wild animals

The Paris change will end “land authorisations” given to circuses whose acts feature wild animals

The city of Paris council has voted to ban the authorisation of circuses that use wild animals, from the end of 2020.

The Conseil de Paris voted for the change on Friday November 15. It will mark the end of “land authorisations” given to circuses whose acts feature wild animals, and is set to come into force by the end of next year.

Pénélope Komitès, Paris secretary for city nature, said: “We can all collectively celebrate this decision, which marks a social step forward demanded by all French people.”

The measure has been the subject of discussion for two years.

Any circuses set to be affected by the rules will qualify for council support to change their shows and convert their business operations.

In response to a plea for “financial support” for circuses from MP Danielle Simonnet, Ms Komitès said: “[There will be] around €50,000 across three years”, for each circus that signs up to convert.

But the rules are not set to apply to two circuses in the capital: Bouglione and Gruss. The first owns its own land, so council legislation on “land authorisation” has no effect.

The second is already due to sign the convention banning the use of wild animals in circuses, when its current contract comes up for renewal in 2020. It will have to sign this if it wants to continue trading.

But William Kerwich, from circus Cirque Royal, said the decision was “a political game”.

He said: “Taking away animals is like taking away clowns. Eventually there will be nothing left apart from shows such as Cirque du Soleil for intellectuals and teenagers.”

The new law comes after Paris voted in December 2017 to “work towards a city without wild animals in its circuses”.

That vote came soon after a rare white tiger was killed by its circus-leader owner after allegedly escaping from its enclosure at the Bormann Moreno circus. But owner Eric Bormann said his animals were kept responsibly in good conditions, and that the tiger had been purposefully let out as “an act of malice”.

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