France discusses law to ban wild animals in circuses

Lions forced to perform in a French circus, photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / One Voice
Lions forced to perform in a French circus, photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / One Voice

French Members of Parliament (MP) debated a law against animal abuse on Wednesday. The law is proposed by the majority party, Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche (LREM).

The law means a ban on the use of wild animals, like lions and bears, in circuses, aquariums shows and TV shows. It also demands the last few mink farms left in France to close and harder sanctions for animal abuse.

Several opposition politicians criticized the new law for not including intensive breeding of farm animals, hunting, bullfighting and animal testing.

“According to LREM, breeding minks in cages is unacceptable, but there is no issue with breeding hens in cages,” Bastien Lachaud from La France Insoumine said. “Industrial and intensive breeding is exonerated in advance. According to “En Marche”, if it is livestock farming, animal abuse cannot apply.”

Several animal rights groups were also critical of the law. “It is especially shocking because we slaughter one billion farm animals every year in France, so it is one of the topics that concerns the largest number of animals,” said Samuel Airaud from the animal welfare organization L214.

“Eighty percent of these animals are bred in intensive breeding conditions, in buildings without outdoor access,” Airaud said. “We would like to put an end to those practices. Nine French citizens out of ten would like to put an end to them.”

L214 is known in France for revealing the animal abuse that happens inside animal breeding farms.

“This law proposal is not an end in itself. It is just the beginning. I believe the message is clear for all political parties. Animal protection is going to be one of the major issues of 2022 presidential election,” Airaud said.

The Animal Reader talked to Muriel Arnal from the animal welfare organization One Voice about the use of wild animals in French circuses.

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