Wild animals banned from circuses in Belgium

Summary

After a 2011 report from the Council of Animal Welfare, federal parliament has passed new legislation banning wild animals, such as lions and elephants, from performing in Belgium

A white list designates which animals are allowed to be part of shows

Wild animals will no longer be able to be part of circus performances in Belgium, the federal parliament has voted. Members of parliament supported a proposal to create a white list of animals allowed in circuses performing in the country. The list includes mostly domesticated animals such as poultry, pigs, llamas, dogs, horses and sheep.

The list excludes popular circus animals such as tigers, elephants and lions. The choice of a white list avoids circuses getting around any black list by introducing unlisted species. The animals on the white list will still, the legislation says, have to be kept in conditions that respect the minimum norms on the housing of animals.

The legislation came about after a 2011 report from the Council for Animal Welfare pointed out that circus animals were often kept in cramped conditions that took no account of the animals’ particular needs, for example regarding temperature.

In related news, animal rights organisation Gaia has demanded an investigation after a snow leopard was shot dead following its escape from an animal park in Wallonia. Gaia director-general Michel Vandenbosch said the animal could have been captured using a tranquilliser dart and pointed out that the park, Monde Sauvage in Aywaille, has had other questionable incidents. The leopard escaped by breaking through a glass restraining panel and acted aggressively towards a keeper, according to the park. “He had no other option but to shoot the animal,” the park said in a statement.

Photo: chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons

The federal parliament has passed new legislation banning wild animals from performing in Belgium.

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