Parliamentary question - O-000064/2021Parliamentary question

An EU ban on the use of wild animals in circuses


Question for oral answer  O-000064/2021
to the Commission
Rule 136
Eleonora Evi (Verts/ALE), Günther Sidl (S&D), Sarah Wiener (Verts/ALE), Emil Radev (PPE), Martin Buschmann (NI), Maria Noichl (S&D), Manuela Ripa (Verts/ALE), Niels Fuglsang (S&D), Marina Kaljurand (S&D), Ernest Urtasun (Verts/ALE), Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE), Aurélia Beigneux (ID), Manuel Bompard (The Left), Annika Bruna (ID), David Cormand (Verts/ALE), Pascal Durand (Renew), Virginie Joron (ID), Caroline Roose (Verts/ALE), Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Renew), Clare Daly (The Left), Tiziana Beghin (NI), Rosa D'Amato (Verts/ALE), Petras Auštrevičius (Renew), Tilly Metz (Verts/ALE), Anja Hazekamp (The Left), Leszek Miller (S&D), Sylwia Spurek (Verts/ALE), Jadwiga Wiśniewska (ECR), Francisco Guerreiro (Verts/ALE), Tudor Ciuhodaru (S&D), Malin Björk (The Left), Martin Hojsík (Renew), Michal Wiezik (PPE), Saskia Bricmont (Verts/ALE), Róża Thun und Hohenstein (PPE), Vlad Gheorghe (Renew)

Wild animals in circuses are forced to behave in ways never seen in nature and although some of these animals have been bred in captivity for many generations, they still exhibit the behaviour typical of animals in the wild. The welfare of wild animals in circuses is always severely compromised.

Most Member States take the view that the use of wild animals in circuses has no educational or cultural value and may in fact have a negative impact on the public’s perceptions of and respect for wild animals. 23 Member States have already adopted a total or partial ban on their use.

Health controls for the movement of circus animals between Member States should be applied through Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2035 supplementing Regulation (EU) 2016/429. However, studies show that it is difficult to carry out controls with regard to the health, trade and possession of wild animals in circuses. Furthermore, the use of endangered species undermines international efforts to end illegal trade and poaching. Since circuses are not only on the move for much of the time, but also change their names, it is difficult to monitor the births and deaths of captive-bred protected animals such as tigers[1]. These difficulties facilitate the illicit trade of endangered species and their parts in the EU, which jeopardises the effective implementation of EU wildlife trade regulations including Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97.

Finally, the use of wild animals in circuses regularly leads to accidents involving animal tamers, circus employees and the public[2].

In line with the definition provided by Article 4(1) of the Services Directive, travelling circuses are classified as a service, which the EU legislators have the competence to regulate pursuant to Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Does the Commission intend to introduce a ban on the use of wild circus animals in the EU in order to ensure that the exposure to the risks of the illegal wildlife trade and risks to public health and security are uniformly mitigated across the Member States and to assist with the enforcement of national restrictions for the majority of Member States that already apply them?

Submitted: 11.10.2021

Lapses: 12.1.2022

Last updated: 13 October 2021
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