Stop circus suffering

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It is time for the European Union to act. Only this can guarantee a solution to the physical and emotional suffering of wild animals in circuses and to the related public security risks.


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Infocircos .org started this petition on platform to Commissioner-Delegate for Health Stella Kyriakides.
Final number adding Infocircos and Djurens Rätt's petition on the same demand.



Eurogroup for Animals’ updated report Wild Animals in EU Circuses : Problems, Risks and Solutions (Updated version August 2021) is now out.

The report, whose first version was published in 2017, includes an extensive list of incidents involving the public and wild animals in EU circuses. This publication clearly demonstrates that the use of wild animals in circuses is not only a problem for animal welfare, but also an important issue of public safety and security.

Given the cross-border nature of the issue, Eurogroup for Animals and its member organisations believe only an EU-wide  harmonised and  full ban can guarantee a coherent and effective solution.


Join us to get wild animals out of circuses!

3 March 2021, we - Eurogroup for Animals and its 70 member organisations - celebrated World Wildlife Day with the official launch of the “EU Stop Circus Suffering” campaign, calling for an EU Ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. 

Wild animals in circuses are destined to a life of physical abuse and mental torture. Circuses are travelling entertainment services moving around Europe, and performing wild animals  are transported across Member States, where circuses pose severe public safety and animal health and welfare risks. That’s why we call for an EU wide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, since bans at the national level won’t prevent these movements with all the risks and distresses for the animals.  

“Only an EU wide ban can guarantee the end of this outdated entertainment and provide a coherent and effective solution to the physical and emotional suffering of wild animals in circuses. The Commission should take the wishes of EU citizens very seriously and use their powers to finally end this unnecessary suffering while confirming the EU as the International leader for animal welfare” - Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals.

Current situation in the EU

24 Member States have already adopted national legislation restricting the use of either all, or exclusively wild, animals in circuses, reflecting the public’s position on ethical and animal welfare grounds. Statements from animal experts and veterinary bodies backed up these decisions. 

However, France, Germany, Italy and Spain don’t have any national restrictions and Czech Republic, Finland and Hungary only adopted restrictions on the use of some species of wild animals.  

 Circuses in these countries are therefore still using wild animals and are travelling through the other member states that have restrictions in place. This is why an EU ban and therefore our campaign is still very much needed to confirm a coherent and common EU answer to the suffering of these animals and the cross-border aspect of the issue.

2021 Opinion poll on wild animals in circuses

 The results of the latest survey (February 2021) clearly show there’s no more room for this cruel entertainment:

  • The use of wild animals in circuses is cruel and wild animals should not be used for public entertainment: 68% agree
  • The European Union should ban the use of all wild animals in circuses: 62% agree
  • The European Union should guarantee that cruel uses of animals are not allowed: 83% agree
  • Circuses that still use wild animals must reinvent themselves by developing high quality shows with human performers: 69% agree
  • Circuses showing wild animals is educational: 20% agree
Eurogroup for Animals commissioned an opinion poll to Savanta ComRes who interviewed citizens from Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain

Read full results here

Quotes from member organisations

“At AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection, we rescue many wild animals, including chimps, lions and tigers, that were used in European circuses. Years of forced performing and wasting away in circus trailers leave scars. At AAP, we can offer some of these former circus animals a brighter future, but only the EU can save all wild animals from having to endure this unnecessary suffering in the first place, with an EU ban on the use of wild animals in circuses”-  David van Gennep, CEO of AAP.
 "Animals are not clowns" - Code Animal
“The time has come to end the use of wild animals in travelling circuses throughout the European Union. EU citizens and animal experts alike agree that wild animals do not belong in the circus. Out of 27 Member States, 23 have already banned or restricted this outdated practice to meet the sentiment of their citizens against animal suffering for entertainment purposes. Now it is up to the European Commission to close this cruel chapter once and for all EU-wide.” - Thomas Pietsch, wild animal expert at FOUR PAWS International
“Member states like Germany still lack behind when it comes to protecting circus animals. Therefore it is time for the EU to act and ban wild animals in travelling enterprises once and for all.” - Jürgen Plinz, Deutscher Tierschutzbund

The way European citizens consider animals is changing and the public is now very much aware of the suffering endured by wild animals in circuses. This industry needs to evolve and reinvent itself to allow entertainment without abuse. Yes to circuses, No to circuses with wild animals.” - Elodie Gérôme-Delgado, Fondation Brigitte Bardot