Presentation of petition in Berne: "No wild animals in the circus"
More than 70,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the Swiss Federal Council ban wild animals in Swiss circuses. The petition forms were handed over to the Federal Council in Berne today.
March 15, 2018
The Swiss Animal Welfare Act is often considered exemplary by international standards. The fact is though that 26 European countries have already imposed severe restrictions or bans on circuses carrying wild animals or animals in general. In Switzerland, on the other hand, there is a special regulation which actually makes it easier for circuses to keep wild animals in smaller spaces than in zoos. And this despite the fact that there is no difference whatsoever between the needs of animals kept in a zoo or those kept in circuses.
A circus environment cannot satisfy the needs of wild animals in any way. Besides the size of the enclosures, serious concerns exist about the constant change of location, the proximity to humans, and the whereabouts of the animals before and after touring.
The Federal Council rejected the proposal submitted by National Council member Isabelle Chevalley in March 2015 to "specify what animal species are to be allowed in circuses". It did note, however, that "Indeed, it is almost impossible to carry along species such as rhinos, bears, and big cats on circus tours in a way that would conform with the animal welfare legislation; this would be too expensive and hardly feasible." The animal welfare organizations behind the current petition are now hoping that public pressure will lead to a statutory ban on wild animals in Swiss circuses and thus put an end to their suffering.