Mexico Bans Use of Wild Animals in Circuses

The entire country says adios to dancing bears and balancing elephants.


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A new law in Mexico banning the use of wild animals—including tigers, elephants, zebras, lions, baboons, and camels—goes into effect July 8, making our southern neighbor the 29th country to pass a national ban on circus animals. Mexico currently has more than 200 registered circuses (and many more that are unregistered), and an estimated 3,500 animals will retire thanks to this law. The legislation follows the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s announcement that they will retire their circus elephants by 2018, and violators will be fined up to $225,000. Despite the good news that thousands of animals will be freed from cruel, dangerous performances, activists are concerned about their fate. A Mexican environmental protection agency official has reported that the government is evaluating the facilities that wil house the animals, such as privately owned zoos.