Circuses should be banned from using wild animals: Minister

The Council of Ministers has agreed with State Secretary Dijksma's proposal to ban the use of wild mammals in circuses. They aim to have the ban take effect in September 2015.

According to Dijksma, the welfare, health and natural behavior of wild mammals are affected when used in circuses. The large amount of traveling, the limited available space and sometimes being led on a chain are detrimental to the welfare of wild animals. "It is no longer the time for wild animals like elephants and tigers performing in a circus." Dijksma said. "The degradation of the animal does not outweigh the use of these animals for entertainment and maintaining a tradition."

The Association of Dutch Circus Enterprises (Vereniging Nederlandse circus Ondernemingen - VNCO) is furious about this ban. Spokesperson Adri Lammers of the VNCO finds Dijksma's claims of animal degradation nonsense. "There are many studies that prove otherwise. Animals experience little stress while traveling. We agreed that we would discuss scientific facts and evidence. The Secretary of State now reacts superficially based on platitudes and emotions."

According to Lammers, the ban will be a huge financial setback. "It is during one of the busiest periods, mid September. That is right in the travel season and after Christmas the highlight of the year."

On Twitter the Animal Protection said that the news of the ban is "fantastic". Another animal rights organization, Bite Back, called the ban a "good first step". This organization is advocating for all animals to be banned from circuses, including dogs, horses and other domesticated animals.

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