The Estonian Society for the Protection of Animals and the In the Name of the Animals movement have started a petition for banning the use of animals in circuses in Estonia.
"As circuses are unable to ensure that animals have the necessary living conditions or sufficient well-being, we find it is time to prohibit the use of animals in Estonia based on the examples of other countries," Kristina Mering of In the Name of the Animals said in a press release.
The use of animals in circuses has already been banned in Austria, Finland, Brazil, Costa Rica, Singapore, Slovenia, Colombia, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru, and partly so in Argentina, Australia, Canada and Sweden, India, Israel, Croatia and Hungary and some American states, uudised.err.ee reported. Wild animals may no longer be used in circuses in Britain.
"We plan to introduce to Parliament a new draft animal protection act that would prohibit the use of animals in the circus," said Annika Lepp, media director of the Society for the Protection of Animals. "A draft law with the same content introduced in conjunction with the Green Party did not find support. We hope that Estonian society and Parliament are finally ready to prohibit the use of animals in circuses."
An elephant in an Estonian traveling circus died in the Narva river on Friday, prompting speculation that the animal's natural death could have been sped up by mistreatment.
Trainers had taken the 47-year-old female Indian elephant for a swim in the Narva river. Locals demanded that the elephant be taken away from the public riverside, but the owners refused, eliciting a phone call to the police. Soon after, the animal appeared sluggish and fell on its side, dying in the river. A veterinarian discerned heart failure as the cause of death, ETV reported.
Animal rights activists had previously held a protest when the circus tour was in Tallinn, claiming the elephant had been beaten.