France Is Banning The Use Of Wild Animals In Traveling Circuses And Marine Parks

France will be implementing a "gradual" ban on the use of wild animals in traveling circuses, as well as a ban on keeping dolphins and whales in marine parks, and on raising mink on fur farms.

As BBC News reported, the bans are part of the country's new measures focused on animal welfare, and are expected to take effect "over the next few years."

Barbara Pompili, France’s minister of ecological transition, announced the upcoming bans in a press conference.

"Our attitude to wild animals has changed," she said. "It is time to open a new era in our relationship with these [wild] animals. It is time that our ancestral fascination with these wild beings no longer means they end up in captivity."

Per the new ban, bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals won't be allowed in any travelling circuses “in the coming years.” However, these rules do not apply to zoos or other permanent attractions/shows.

Pompili also announced that effective immediately, France's three marine aquariums will be prohibited from breeding or bringing in any new dolphins or orca whales.

Unsplash | Ranae Smith

Additionally, no new marine parks will be built.

The ban, Pompili explained, will also bring an end to mink farming, where animals are bred and raised specifically for their fur, within the next five years.

"We can no longer keep wild animals for the sole purpose of slaughtering them to be worn in clothing," Pompili tweeted.

As for what's to happen to those wild animals already in traveling circuses, the minister said solutions will be on a "case-by-case" basis.

Unsplash | Annie Spratt

The government will be offering France's circuses and marine parks an 8 million euro ($9.4 million USD) package to help them adapt to these new measures.

"We are asking [circuses] to reinvent themselves," she said. "That transition will be spread over several years because it will change the lives of many people."

Pompili also assured the wild animals in circuses or marine parks won't simply be released.

Animal rights groups have praised the country's efforts to put an end to using animals for entertainment.

PETA France tweeted to say this is a "historic win", adding, "Champagne corks are blowing up at PETA."

However, the circus industry has been less enthusiastic in response to the ban. William Kerwich, the head of the circus animal trainers’ union, said, "Circuses will have to abandon their animals and the minister will be responsible."

h/t: BBC News