Paris pledges ban on wild animals in circuses


Paris (AFP)

The city of Paris on Wednesday pledged to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, in a move welcomed as a "small step forward" by animal welfare experts.

Criticism has grown in France of the inclusion of exotic animals in some circus shows, and 65 municipalities have already banned them.

City lawmakers voted Wednesday to support a motion proposed by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo saying they were "unanimously committed to a city without wild animals in circuses."

But they didn't set a deadline and left the final decision on any ban to the government.

The French state has yet to proscribe wild animals in circuses, a practice that is already outlawed in 19 other European countries.

The welfare debate resurfaced last November when a tiger that escaped from a Paris circus was shot and killed by its owner.

"Wild animals in circuses are not well treated. They are exploited for fun and this is hitting home to more and more Parisians," said ecologist Jacques Boutault.

He said that Wednesday's decision was "a small step forward even if it does not go far enough" as national lawmakers must vote through any eventual ban.