On May 16th AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection rescued two lions from the first Spanish circus to voluntarily stop performances with wild animals and commit to not resuming that activity in the future.
The decision of the circus has been motivated by the progress booked in Spain by AAP, its partners in the coalition InfoCircos and ANDA to end the use of wild animals in shows. In the last few years more than 400 Spanish municipalities have declared themselves ‘free of circuses with wild animals’ and seven autonomous regions have either banned the practice or are in the process of doing so.
AAP and InfoCircos believe that constructive dialogue with the circus community will be an important part of solving this pressing animal welfare issue once and for all. “We encourage other circuses to follow suit and reconvert their activity to adapt it to what today’s society really demands. As a rescue centre, we are ready to help by taking in the animals or assist in finding other rescue solutions”, says AAP’s CEO David van Gennep.
The two male lions are now in quarantine at Primadomus, AAP’s facility in Villena (Spain), where they will also undergo their rehabilitation process.
Similar developments in France
On the same day as the two Spanish lions arrived in Primadomus, AAP’s French partner organization 30 Millions d’Amis also announced that a well-known French circus had made the same decision to stop performing with wild animals and hand them in to rescue centres and sanctuaries. The circus representative has been very clear about their motives to do so: “It’s out of love for the animals and respect for the public that I stop. I have seen an opinion poll which indicates that 80% of French people are sensitive to the animal cause. Our job is to deliver a show for the whole family. If a large majority of families are sensitive to the animal cause, we cannot continue with a show which disturbs them. I will not continue presenting animals to people who have moral issues when they go to the circus.”
Van Gennep adds: “These developments in countries such as Spain or France were simply unthinkable just a couple of years ago. We can be very proud that the well-coordinated and constructive actions of the animal welfare community are booking such progress. The end of wild animals in circuses in Europe is, without a doubt, in sight.”