The Ministry of Agriculture has drawn up a bill to ban elephants and lions in circus performances. The bill would also ban performing bears, monkeys and large felidae.
“Scientific research has shown that circuses, especially traveling circuses are unable to fill the minimum health requirements of animals," Agriculture Minister Ivari Padar said. "The greatest problems are with elephants and large cats who do not have enough room to move. There are also issues with the living conditions, the diet, transport and training of monkeys and bears. Moreover, the circuses are often unable to provide adequate veterinary aid to animals.”
"Taking all the above into account, we find that Estonia should ban such animals in circuses," he said.
Estonia itself has no permanent circus which uses animals. The ban will effect traveling circuses only.
The bill has been sent to other ministries and institutions for comments, after which the government and then the Parliament will discuss the subject. The ministry is aiming to have the ban in force by July 1, 2017.
A circus elephant died in the Narva river in the summer of 2013. Although no ill-treatment was detected, animal rights groups petitioned for a ban on circus animals.
Editor: J.M. Laats