Netherlands Officially Bans Wild Animals From Being Used in the Circus

elephants circus

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In a move that will hopefully encourage other nations to follow suit, Netherlands officially bans wild animals from being used in the circus.  Just last week, on September 15, a the ban officially went into effect, leaving animal rights activists everywhere breathing a bit easier.

This is great news as magnificent animals like lions, bears, elephants, and giraffes suffer spending their lives in the circus, from being constantly transported, having to live in small, poorly laid-out enclosures and being forced to perform unnatural tricks in the circus ring.

Species that are banned  include giraffes, elephants, tigers, lions, zebras, sea lions and primates. The association of Dutch animal welfare organisations, Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit, has been campaigning for nine years for a ban like this one – of the 22 active circuses in the Netherlands, 16 own a total of 119 various wild animals.

Netherlands is not the first to act, nine other European countries already have complete bans on keeping wild animals in circuses, including Austria, Greece and Belgium. Another nine countries at least limit the types of wild animals which may be kept in circuses.

The question is, what will happen to the animals who were being used? Some worry they’ll just have to travel to other countries where they can still work. We’ll have to hope that they be able to live out the rest of their lives in retirement and at least enjoy an inkling of freedom, perhaps on a sanctuary somewhere.