Photo: Stock Photos from MARTIN MECNAROWSKI/Shutterstock Traveling circuses have wowed viewers around the world for over 100 years. Acrobats, trained elephants, and clown cars are standard fare under the “Big Top.” However, animal rights activists have long critiqued acts which use wild animals. This month, France’s environmental minister announced a ban preventing wild animals from performing in traveling shows. The nation joins over 20 other European countries with similar prohibitions in an effort to bring the treatment of wild animals in line with modern best practices. The French ban began as a grassroots movement, with over 400 local officials enacting similar rules within their jurisdictions. Minister Barbara Pompili—who announced the new rules—cited ethical concerns for the “welfare of captive wildlife.” Tigers, elephants, lions, and bears usually roam great distances in their wild habitats. Circus animals spend long hours in small cages and are sometimes forced to perform when sick. At a press conference , the minister declared, “It is time that our ancestral fascination with these wild beings no longer translates into situations where their captivity is favored over their welfare.” The new rules will also apply to French marine parks, called dolphinariums. Breeding of dolphins and captive killer […]

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