Slovakia to Ban Wild Animal Circuses

A new amendment will protect wild species from performing “atypical behavior not present in nature.”


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In the coming months, eastern European country Slovakia will vote to amend a veterinary law to include protections for animals in circuses. “Species of wild animals which publicly perform tricks learned from humans and demonstrating atypical behavior not present in nature will be protected,” Slovakia’s Agriculture Ministry’s press office head Vladimír Machalík said. Animal-rights group Sloboda Zvierat (Freedom of Animals) has been pushing for a ban on wild animal circuses in the country since 2012. Once the ban is enacted in January 2018, Slovakia will join a growing list of countries—including GreeceIranMexicoThe Netherlands, and Bolivia—that have banned the exploitation of wild animals for human entertainment in circuses. Stateside, the 140-year old circus company Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus held its last show this May, citing declining ticket sales as the reason for its closure. While wild-animal circuses are banned in several cities—including Los Angeles and New York City—there is currently no federal ban of this cruel form of entertainment in the United States.