France is to 'gradually' ban travelling circuses with wild animals the government has announced, bringing it into line with 20 other European countries.
Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili unveiled the 'progressive end' of travelling circuses with wild animals in France as part of a series of measures to improve the wellbeing of wild animals in captivity.
She also said at a press conference on Tuesday, September 29, that the reproduction and introduction of orca and dolphins in the country's three dolphinariums would also be outlawed, as will the breeding of American mink for their fur at the four mink farms in France.
"It is time that our ancestral fascination with these wild beings no longer translates into situations where their captivity is favoured over their well-being," said the Minister, noting 'a change of era and a new relationship with wild animals'.
Ms Pompili did not give a timetable for the implementation of these bans, saying she preferred 'to set up a process to make it happen as quickly as possible', though she did say that some aspects of the ban would take time to implement.
Le Monde reports that there are some 500 wild animals in French circuses. The minister said that "solutions will be found on a case-by-case basis, with each circus, for each animal".
“We ask [circuses] to reinvent themselves. It will be a period when they will need support, the State will be at their side, ” she said.
The government will release €8million to support circuses and dolphinariums during the transition period.
The minister raised the idea of a "sanctuary" to eventually accommodate the dolphins and orcas in captivity in France. She said that a period of "seven to 10 years" would be required to ensure animals currently in captivity could be properly cared for.
More than 20 European countries have already limited or banned the presentation of animals, as have about 400 towns and cities in France, according to the minister.