İrem UZUN -TDO- France's environment minister has announced a gradual ban on using wild animals in traveling circuses, on keeping dolphins and killer whales in captivity in marine parks and on raising mink on fur farms. Barbara Pompili, France's minister of ecological transition, said in a news conference Tuesday that bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals won't be allowed any more in travelling circuses in the coming years.
Pompili said it was "time that our ancestral fascination with these animals no longer translates into situations where we favour their captivity over their well-being". She called it a new era in our relationship with these animals. Effective immediately, travelling circuses will also no longer be able to get new authorizations to detain wild animals. The country will also phase out all mink farms by 2025.
Animals rights group PETA hailed the decision as "an historic victory". "Champagne bottles are being uncorked here. Thank you to all those who have helped bring this about." The animal charity 30 Million Friends also welcomed the ban, tweeting that the government had taken the public's demands for the wellbeing of wild animals into account. It said it wanted the decisions to be pushed through as quickly as possible.
Princess Stephanie, who is the president of the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival, publicly opposed the decision. The sister of the reigning sovereign said that animal circuses were part of a “cultural tradition” and that the animals involved “were neither trained, nor mistreated. Simply loved, nourished and pampered”. While she acknowledged there were cases of abuse, she warned that they should not be generalized.