Mexico City circus acts will soon just involve clowns and acrobats. Legislators have given circus companies one year to remove all animals from their shows.
A new law prohibits “the use of live wild or domestic animals during the staging of circus performances.”
This vote comes in reaction to many allegations of animal abuse, and now the circus owners will have about a year to alter their shows. Violators of the new law could face fines ranging from $45,000 to $60,000.
According to the L.A. Times, The vote by Mexico Citys legislative assembly wasnt close, with 41 politicians favoring the law, none voting against it and 11 abstaining. Now Mexico City, with more than 20 million residents, and six Mexican states Colima, Guerrero, Morelos, Yucatan, Chiapas and Zacatecas prohibit the use of animals in circuses.
The law does not apply to shows with dolphins or bullfighting, nor does it prohibit the use of animals in Mexico’s traditional rodeos known as charreadas.
Circus employees protested against the ban on using animals, saying the legislation will leave them and their animals unemployed.
According to the Washington Post, Stephen Payne, a representative from Feld Entertainment, parent company to Ringling Bros., was on hand in Mexico City, presumably to lobby against its passage.
If their goal is animal welfare improvements, regulate them, said Payne. Otherwise youre just driving these circuses to look for venues outside the federal district.
Animal rights activists claim this is a significant step towards a more ethical treatment for animals, they argue the creatures are often held in confined spaces with poor conditions and are forced into performing.