Clowns, contortionists and awestruck audiences will still be found at circuses across Ireland, but one will not be seeing wild animals in their circuses come 2018. Ireland has recently moved to ban the use of any wild animals for circus entertainment, including those that are presently a part of the circus. This decision will be enacted on Jan. 1 of the New Year.
The circus has a long history of exhibiting wild animals and an almost equally long history of being plagued with controversy surrounding animal cruelty. Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, made the decision to ban wild animals from circuses because it is no environment for them, even if they are well cared for. Ireland is the 42nd country in the world to legislate against animal cruelty by banning circus use.
According to the Irish Times, there are four traveling circuses in Ireland that still have animal performers and 16 total animal performers that will be relocated to more comfortable environments come 2018.
United States Representatives Raul Grijavla and Ryan Costello introduced a similar bill in March of this year known as the Traveling Exotic Animals and Public Safety Protection Act (TEASPA), which called for the 19 U.S. traveling circuses using animal performers to cease doing so or shut down. The bill was last referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture in April and has not been put to a vote.
In both the United States and Ireland, this protection for animals is largely supported.
Information gathered from irishtimes.com, nationalgeographic.com and congress.gov