It is now illegal for wild animals, such as lions, bears, elephants, and giraffes, to be used in circuses in the Netherlands!
On Tuesday, September 15, 2015, a ban on wild animals in circuses officially went into effect in the Netherlands.
Wild animals, such as lions, bears, elephants, and giraffes, will no longer have to endure extensive travel or life in cramped, poorly-laid-out enclosures for the sole purpose of entertaining humans.
Bears, elephants, tigers, and other animals do not voluntarily ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire. They don’t perform these and other difficult tricks because they want to; they perform them because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t.
Of the 22 active circuses in the Netherlands, 16 own a total of 119 various wild animals. Species that are banned from 15 September 2015 include giraffes, elephants, tigers, lions, zebras, sea lions and primates.
Nine European countries already have complete bans on keeping wild animals in circuses, including Austria, Greece and Belgium. More recently, in October 2014 the Maltese president put his signature to a similar law. A further nine countries at least limit the types of wild animals which may be kept in circuses.
As has been shared before, life for an animal in captivity is not at glamorous as it might appear to be in the ring. Oftentimes, circus animals undergo rigorous training (causing mass amounts of stress) and/or abuse inflicted by trainers seeking to instill fear.
Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit, the association of Dutch animal welfare organizations, has spent the last nine years working towards the ban. The association is now offering to help circuses find new, species-appropriate homes for the animals.