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Circuses without Wild Animals

Bans or restrictions on the keeping of animals in circuses

12.1.2024

Numerous countries have banned or restricted wild animals in circuses. Some of them banned also domesticated animals such as horses or dogs, which are also used in circus shows.

FOUR PAWS gives you an overview of the countries that have already taken action against wild animals in circuses or where ban regulations are in the political debate – in Europe and around the world.

in EuropE

  • Austria: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Belgium: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina: General ban on the use of all animals.
  • Bulgaria: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Croatia: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Cyprus: General ban on the use of all animals.
  • Czech Republic: Ban on the use of newly born apes, seals, whales (excl. dolphins), rhinoceroses, hippopotami, giraffes. From January 2022 ban on all individuals of wild animal species born, donated or bought after 1. January 2022.
  • Denmark: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • England: General ban on the use of wild animals as of 2020.
  • Estonia: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Finland: Ban on the use of apes, predators, elephants, hippopotami, marsupials, rhinoceroses, seals, crocodiles, predatory birds, ostriches, wild forms of ruminant or equine animals. From January 1st 2024 a positive list for animals in circuses will come into force which will only allow the use of domesticated species.
  • France: General ban on the use of wild animals as of 2028. Ban on breeding wild animals in circuses as of 2023.
  • Greece: General ban on the use of all animals.
  • Hungary: Ban on the use of elephants, rhinoceroses and primates. Ban on the use of newly captured animals from the wild. Ban on the use of species mentioned in Appendix I of the CITES Convention.
  • Ireland: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Italy: In July 2022 a law on entertainment was approved by the Italian Chamber of Deputies that abolish the use of animals in circuses and other travelling shows. The enabling act already stipulates that, as of now, circuses cannot acquire new animals or breed their own. But the law still needs to be implemented.
  • Latvia: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Lithuania: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Luxembourg: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Malta: General ban on the use of all animals.
  • North Macedonia: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Netherlands: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Norway: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Portugal: Ban on the use of Great Apes. Breeding ban on whales, primate, wolves, bears, big cats, pinnipeds, elephants, manatees, rhinos, hippos, flightless birds, reptiles, constrictors. General ban of wild animals as of 2024.
  • Poland: Ban on the use of wild animals that were born in the wild.
  • Romania: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Scotland: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Serbia: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Slovakia: General ban on the use of wild animals.
  • Slovenia: General ban on the use of all animals.
  • Spain: In March 2023 the new animal welfare law was approved which includes a chapter dedicated the prohibition of the use of wild animals in circuses.
  • Sweden: Ban on the use of apes, predators, rhinoceroses, giraffes, kangaroos, hippopotami, seals, predatory birds, ostriches, crocodiles, fallow deer, elephants and sea lions.
  • Ukraine: The Ukrainian government is preparing for a ban.
  • Wales: General ban on the use of wild animals.

WorLdwide

  • Armenia: In March 2022, the Armenian parliament passed an animal rights bill effectively ending the use of wild animals in live circuses. The list of the wild animals will be defined by a competent body.
  • Bolivia: General ban of wild animals and domesticated species.
  • Costa Rica: General ban of wild animals.
  • Ecuador: Nationwide ban on the use of native wild animals; restrictions on the use of exotic animals; ban on the import of both native and exotic wild animals with circuses.
  • El Salvador: General ban of wild animals.
  • Guatemala: General ban of all animals.
  • Honduras: General ban of all animals.
  • India: General ban of wild animals.
  • Iran: General ban of wild animals.
  • Israel: General ban of wild animals.
  • Columbia: General ban of wild animals.
  • Lebanon: Nationwide ban on the use of certain species in circuses.
  • Mexico: General ban of wild animals.
  • Panama: Nationwide ban prohibiting 'entry of wild animals for use in static and travelling circuses and similar shows'.
  • Paraguay: General ban of wild animals.
  • Peru: General ban of wild animal.
  • Singapore: General ban of wild animals.
  • Taiwan: Nationwide ban on the import or export of protected wildlife for circuses.

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