Circus, dolphins, mink farms: towards new measures for animal welfare

Tamer Oleg Balutel under the grand crest of the Medrano circus, in Lyon on October 16, 2016. (© AFP / Archive / JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK)

Soon here the end of big cats in circuses, dolphins or mink farms ? While the issue of animal welfare has been settled in public debate, Barbara Pompili should quickly make an announcement on this flammable topic.

A government plan was expected a year ago, after months of consultations. But since then, nothing, to the derision of animal rights associations.

Arriving at the Department of Ecological Transition in the early summer, Barbara Pompili inherited this record that could lead to the ballot boxes, after the “animal party” collected nearly half a million votes in Europe in May 2019 .

Early Bill in Parliament

The petition for an “animal referendum”ask a ban on wildlife shows, hunting with hounds or raising for fursigned by more than 750,000 Internet users and supported by 141 members of parliament (it will require 4.7 million signatures and 185 MPs to organize a vote).

In early October, a bill from the Eco-Democratic Solidarity (EDS) group participating in a good part of this “referendum” must be considered in Parliament. And LREM delegates compiled an animal welfare bill manifest in July.

A tiger in a pack of tigers during the Massy International Circus Festival in Essonne, December 13, 2017.
A tiger in a pack of tigers during the Massy International Circus Festival in Essonne, December 13, 2017. (© AFP / Archive / BERTRAND GUAY)

“500 Beasts in France”

Barbara Pompili – whose department is only responsible for wildlife – last week received representatives from relevant industries for consultation, but her possible announcements have caused concern.

France’s fur industry denounced an “unprecedented decision (in which) to sacrifice an economic sector to meet the needs of an active animal minority” and declared its intention to challenge it in court. mink farming ban could threaten up to 2,500 jobs for her.

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Another, very iconic, area is the circus, while more than twenty European countries have restricted or banned animal shows, like nearly a hundred autonomous cities in France.

“We were afraid for our animals, we told her (Mrs Pompili) they were going to die,” said William Kerwich, president of the association of circuses and animal performers.

There are almost 500 big cats in France, what do we do with them? Who will take care of it? We have the qualifications for.

For him, the minister reacts to political motives and “needs to make quick announcements”, in the face of a surge in “women who have won municipal elections”. . “We understand that there is a social problem, but this is not an animal welfare issue. We need reassurance, she said she was willing to help us, but did not talk about converting “for about 60 animal circuses.

Coach Sergey Nesterov at the 44th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco, January 21, 2020.
Coach Sergey Nesterov at the 44th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco, January 21, 2020. (© POOL / AFP / Archives / ERIC GAILLARD)

Balance is hard to find

“It has consequences for people who have worked with animals over the course of seven or eight generations,” said Cyrille Emery, general delegate of the Association to Protect the Family Circus.

“We’re not saying there’s no question and we want a deal,” he assured. While also fearing that the political aspect would prevail, to satisfy “small groups saying everything must be stopped”.

Matthieu Orphelin, leader of the EDS deputies, claimed in all cases had “forced the government to move”. And expect from the Minister “commitment, with a clear position and date and support for the parties involved”.

At the ministry, it was explained that Barbara Pompili was precisely leading the discussions “with the desire to put forward transition plans (for sectors) each time and concerns the health of animals”.

Dolphin show at Marineland in Antibes in the Alpes-Maritimes on December 7, 2016.
Dolphin show at Marineland in Antibes in the Alpes-Maritimes on December 7, 2016. (© AFP / Archives / VALERY HACHE)

“And bullfighting? »

Not enough to reassure supporters of “traditional” circuses, who claim about 14 million spectators annually, compared with one million for “contemporary” circuses, which have no animals.

William Kerwich assured his union would challenge any ban in court and has consulted with hunters, of whom Pompili is a pet, about possible protests happen.

Cyrille Emery, he wondered. “Why is the circus so urgent, more so than bullfighting? »

French player Juan Bautista during the second day of the Feria de Nîmes, May 25, 2007.
French player Juan Bautista during the second day of the Feria de Nîmes, May 25, 2007. (© AFP / Archive / PASCAL GUYOT)

Source: © 2020 AFP

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