Paris has decided to ban circuses featuring wild animals acts, following in the footsteps of around 46 other cities across France – where similar bans are already in place.
The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, pinpointed, however, that she couldn't take this decision alone and that the final decree had to come from the government, who will also have to consult with circus owners.
A contemporary issue
The debate around authorizing wild animal acts was re-ignited last month when an escaped tiger had to be shot right in the middle of a Paris street.
This decision to kill the animal deeply moved public opinion and further discredited the use of wild animals in circuses. Jacques Boutault, Green Party Mayor for the Second district of Paris, said to Paris Match:
"Wild animals in circuses are abused, they are exploited for entertainment purposes and Parisians don't want this to happen anymore."
This decision thus follows the general trend towards preserving wildlife. Yann Wehrling, spokesman and general secretary of the Mouvement Democratique (France's Democratic Party).
"We can't just talk about biodiversity and then find normal that endangered species are being taught to play the clown for our so-called entertainment and are being kept in cramped cages."
Animal welfare associations are applauding the move, but say further action is needed. La Fondation Brigitte Bardot stated: "No more wild animals in circuses in Paris? That's just a declaration of intention and we are expecting the government to be true to its words."
One thing is for sure though: the general public has become increasingly uninterested in elephant pyramids, in lions jumping through rings of fire or in bears cycling around with a ridiculous little hat on their heads. Time for circuses to reinvent themselves.