EU petition to ban wild animals in circuses reached 1 million signatures 

A petition organized by members of the Stop Circus Suffering campaign to ban the use of wild animals in circuses in Europe has reached 1 million signatures. 

Animal welfare group Eurogroup for Animals and the wildlife protection coalition InfoCircos led a ceremony earlier in the month to mark this achievement after starting the petition in 2018. 

According to Eurogroup for Animals, a total of 254 circuses in 14 EU countries still keep wild animals. Germany was top of the list with 75 circuses currently housing 200 animals. 

This list excludes any European circuses that keep animals that fall into the camelids category, which included llamas, camels, and alpacas. 

The two groups involved in running the petition have now handed the petition over to MEPs Eleonora Evi and Anja Hazekamp, who will hand it over to the European Commission. 

How do Europeans feel about animals in circuses? 

A survey carried out in February 2021 in seven EU member states found that 68% of respondents believe using wild animals in circuses is cruel and should not be allowed. 

The CEO of Eurogroup for Animals recently noted, “One million citizens have spoken. Now we need to turn this public mobilization into political engagement. 

Only an EU-wide ban can guarantee the end of this outdated entertainment and provide a coherent and effective solution to the physical and emotional suffering of wild animals in circuses.”

Nineteen EU member states have already banned circuses from using wild animals for entertainment, and three have stopped the use of all species. Five other member states have put some restrictions in place to protect animals. 

As regulations differ between countries and don’t exist in some member states at all, the two groups argue that EU action is needed as many countries still allow circus animals to be transported across borders to get to countries without restrictions. 

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