Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Animals in Traveling Circuses: 8. Legal feasibility of the ban on circus on animals

Posted: 10 May 2008


The executive and legislative powers of the different South America states, are provided with full competence and powers to create legally binding sources of law in order to ban the use of animals in circuses within their territories.

Firstly it is important to highlight that the legal prohibition would not be of all the circuses in general, but of only one category: the circus with animals. ADI supports the statement: “Yes to the circus, but without animals! Therefore the fundamental rights to work, equality and the freedom to choose craft or profession will be guaranteed. The circus artists will be able to keep on exercising this activity and any person can choose freely the above mentioned profession with only one limitation: without animals.

Secondly, the States would comply with the obligations derived from their domestic legislation related to the protection of the animals, by preventing acts of cruelty against them. The ban of animals in circuses, will effectively prevent the perpetration of acts of cruelty within their territories.
Thirdly, the States will regulate a dangerous activity in order to guarantee public safety and the personal integrity of the citizens. In South America, many states already have various regulations on dangerous activities such as on oil exploitation, work on mines, handling of X-ray equipment amongst others. Through regulating such activities, the States have prohibited the use of various means and have regulated the way this legal activity should be carried out. This way, the circus activity would remain as licit and legal but will become part of the activities that are regulated by the State.

Fourthly, most of the countries in South America are part of the Conference of States of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The ban of animals in circuses, will lead to a perfect compliance of the international obligations provided in the treaty related to the prevention of traffic of protected species. Up to date, the state members of CITES are: Antigua y Bermuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Granada, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Santa Lucia, San Vicente and the Granadinas, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay y Venezuela

Fifthly, the Resolution Conf. 12, 3 of the CITES (approved by the Conference in Santiago de Chile in November of 2002) introduced some additional measures related to permissions and certificates for circuses and travelling exhibitions. This resolution introduces a system of animal passports in order to certify their origin and legality. The implementation of this system requires a great unfold of human and physical resources, which might represent an increase in the public expenditure of the State. The ban on animal circuses would avoid the need of such implementation, and will allow the State to use its resources according to its domestic priorities.

Finally, the Preamble of the CITES provides that international cooperation is an essential element for the protection of certain species against excessive exploitation by international trade. A concomitant ban on circuses in various countries in South America is an expression of international cooperation,which will put an end not only to the illegal traffic of protected species but also to animal abuse a multinational level.

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