French Minister announces strong measures in favor of wild animals welfare


French Minister announces strong measures in favor of wild animals welfare

5 October 2020
The French Minister for the Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, announced on 29 September 2020 the gradual ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and on mink farming. As well as the end of the captivity of dolphins and orcas in inadequate dolphinaria, and the implementation of support to improve the detention of wild animals in zoos.

These measures follow a long period of consultations launched by the Ministry in Spring 2019. This huge breakthrough for wild animals in France would not have been possible without the hard work of the various French animal protection organisations, including five of our Members: Fondation Brigitte Bardot, C'est Assez!, Code Animal, Fondation Droit Animal Éthique & Sciences and L214 Éthique & Animaux.

Circuses and travelling shows

These measures include a ban on the reproduction of wild animals and on the deliverance of authorisation for new travelling establishments with animals. For animals currently in circuses, estimated to be around 500, solutions will be found on a case by case basis.

Although more than 20 Member States have adopted bans or partial bans on all circuses involving wild animals, and more than 400 French cities have banned their presence, the measures announced will only apply to travelling circuses and not to other shows involving wild animals. The minister did not give a detailed timeline, explaining she prefers implementing a process to reach the objectives as quickly as possible.


The measures announced include immediate bans on the creation of new establishments with orcas or dolphins and on the reproduction of captive orcas and dolphins. The end of captivity of orcas is planned within two years and of captive dolphins within seven years. The minister even mentioned the idea of a sanctuary to welcome the current captive animals in the three existing parks. The government will invest 8 million euros in the reconversion of circuses and dolphinaria personnel.

Mink farming 

The end of mink farming is planned within five years, giving a due date to the remaining four farms left in France. Brigitte Gothière, co-founder of L214 pays tribute to this measure, saying France finally catches up to other European countries, some of which were among the biggest fur producers. 


Regarding zoos, the measures provide for economical support for the improvement of the welfare of certain species, for instance polar bears. The minister also mentioned that in shows involving wild animals, the public will be prohibited from touching the animals.