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Netherlands bans wild animals in circuses


FOUR PAWS UK welcomes animal-friendly ruling by Dutch government

FOUR PAWS UK congratulates our Dutch colleagues on the news that their country banned wild animals in circuses. The ban was passed last week, and will come into force for all circus attractions in the Netherlands from 15 September 2015. In circuses, wild animals such as lions, bears, elephants, and giraffes suffer from being constantly transported, and having to live in small, poorly laid-out enclosures. They are forced to perform unnatural tricks in the circus ring.


Of the 22 active circuses in the Netherlands, 16 own a total of 119 various wild animals. Species that are banned from 15 September 2015 include giraffes, elephants, tigers, lions, zebras, sea lions and primates. The association of Dutch animal welfare organisations, Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit – of which FOUR PAWS is also a member – has been campaigning for nine years for a ban on wild animals in circuses.  Wilde Dieren de Tent Uit is now offering to help circuses find new, species-appropriate homes for the animals.


Nine European countries already have complete bans on keeping wild animals in circuses, including Austria, Greece and Belgium. More recently, in October 2014 the Maltese president put his signature to a similar law. A further nine countries at least limit the types of wild animals which may be kept in circuses.


What does this mean for the UK?


The news from the Netherlands and Mexico adds to the embarrassment of the UK’s government inability to pass a piece of legislation that was promised by the Prime Minster, David Cameron. The UK has often claimed to be a global authority in animal welfare although the issue of circus animals is certainly contradicting this claim.  Currently the last 5 big cats in circuses traveling the UK are spending the winter in north east Scotland.


Kieran Harkin, Head of Programmes for FOUR PAWS UK also states “ Although we wholeheartedly congratulate the Netherlands on passing this legislation, we are concerned what will happen to the 16 traveling circuses with 119 animals in the Netherlands. Will they simply travel to the UK and Germany where they can still work? We really need all of Europe to take action on this outdated excuse for entertainment to ensure the welfare of these remaining animals can be cared for."




Please help put an end to this cruel use of wild animals and protest online now!