A victory for compassion in Belgium came this week, as the government ratified a law to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. This milestone for animals comes after a 10-year campaign by animal rights groups such as Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA).
This excellent new law will save many animals in Belgium from the stress of constant travelling and transport in extremes of temperature, being kept in restricted living quarters, and being confined for their entire lives to an environment in which they cannot express natural behaviour but are instead forced to perform humiliating tricks.
GAIA’s investigations into circuses in Belgium found many animals exhibiting abnormal behaviour, a proven indicator of psychological stress and discomfort, and revealed how animals such as monkeys, elephants, bears, tigers, hippos and giraffes are made to suffer in the name of entertainment.
The Belgian ban follows close on the heels of a similar ban in Austria. In April of this year,the UK government also promised to ban all circuses that use wild animals, but an absurd select-committee report recently recommended that the ban should be limited to certain species – such as elephants and big cats – thereby failing to protect such animals who are still being exploited in English circuses as camels, zebra and reindeer.
The show must not go on for inhumane and archaic circuses that use wild animals – so please send a message to the UK government urging it not to water down the new ban but, like Belgium, to relieve the suffering of all animals who are used and abused under the big top.