Italy Bans All Animal Circuses

The country’s 100 circuses that exploit 2,000 animals will shutter by next year.


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The Italian Assembly of the Parliament signed a bill last week to ban all traveling animal shows and circuses in the country. Within one year, the nation—which currently has approximately 100 circuses that exploit 2,000 wild animals—will create regulations to implement the ban through a Ministerial decree. Animal-rights organization Animal Defenders International (ADI) worked with local organization Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV) to educate Italian legislators about the cruelty involved in using animals for entertainment. The organizations held a workshop at the Italian senate that included a screening of Lion’s Ark—a documentary of ADI’s dramatic rescue of 25 lions previously held captive in Bolivian circuses. “Through ADI’s undercover investigations,” ADI President Jan Creamer said, “we have shown the violence and abuse that is used to force these animals to obey and perform tricks. We applaud Italy and urge countries like the UK and the US to follow this example and end this cruelty.” Italy is now the 41st country to ban wild animal circuses.