French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) party called the legislation “a historic step in animal rights combat”.
According to polls the majority of people in France support banning the use of wild circus animals and dozens of cities in many French towns have already stopped the use of wild animals in circuses.
However, circus owners are unhappy as there are an estimated 120 circuses in France. A traveling circus owner William Kerwich, who is also the head of France’s circus animal trainers’ union said that his members would appeal the law in court and protest.
The new law states targeting all circuses that there will be a maximum penalty for mistreating animals to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros ($85,000) and will also tighten restrictions on the sale of pets.
Several events in France in recent years have added momentum for the ban, including the death of a sickly performing bear called Mischa in 2019 that had been rescued from animal trainers, as well as the shooting of an escaped tiger in Paris in 2017.
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had canceled the recognition of all circuses in the country that force wild animals to perform tricks in the name of entertainment.
The first ban was approved in 1998, when bears, monkeys, tigers, and panthers were banned from being forced to perform for entertainment acts in India, but elephants were exempt from the law. Later, in 2013, India officially banned elephants from circuses.
Several other countries including Romania, Iran, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, as well as a number of U.S. cities like Los Angeles, New York City, and Portland and many more have already instated similar legislation that bans the use of wild animals in circuses, showing us that the world as a whole has been making giant strides toward a more humane future.