Wild animal circuses will be banned in Portugal by 2024 due to new legislation recently passed by the country’s Parliament. “Parliament has finally realized that larger cages, stricter rules, and more controls were not the solution for the problems of these animals—who were reduced to mere puppets, deprived of their dignity,” André Silva, a representative for political party PAN (Pessoas-Animais-Natureza or “People-Animals-Nature”), told media outlet Agence France Presse. The new legislation prohibits more than 40 species of animals from exploitation in circuses, including lions, camels, tigers, elephants, and zebras. Circus operators are required to register all animals currently held at their facilities with the government so that they can be placed in sanctuaries by 2024. Should circus operators agree to relinquish animals prior to 2024, the government will aid them in transitioning into new professions. A group of 20 circus operators in opposition of the ban stated that the regulations would “contribute to the disappearance of the business.” Local animal-rights group Associação Zoófila Portuguesa (AZP) applauded the ban as a progressive move for Portugal. “Wild animals have no place in the circus,” AZP vice president Bianca Santos stated. “People should be able to enjoy themselves without animals suffering.” Portugal joins a growing list of countries that have recently banned wild animal circuses, including Mexico, India, Iran, and the United Kingdom.
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