“The main purpose of this bill is to protect the lives and welfare of animals involved in circus performances,” the authors of the document say. They explain the relevance of the measure by citing the growing number of cases of animal abuse during circus performance production. Reminder: After a viral video of a circus rehearsal with predators being beaten with a stick and poured with water from fire hydrants, animal rights activists filed a petition with the Investigative Committee.
According to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, more than 500 shelters, zoos, and circuses were inspected in February 2022, with 116 cases of illegal use and 48 cases of cruelty to animals revealed.
“Wild animals in circuses are violently removed from their natural habitat and deprived of their freedom. In fact, in circus performances, the animal is condemned to constant psychological and physical suffering for the rest of its life. Scientific research shows that animals in circuses are subject to chronic stress and often suffer from injuries and diseases,” says the explanatory note.
It also contains the results of a survey conducted in November 2021. According to it, 42% of Russians support a ban on the use of wild and domestic animals in circuses, and 8% speak against the use of only wild animals.
The authors also draw on the experiences of other countries. More than 40 countries have completely or partially banned the use of animals in circuses, including Israel, India, Singapore, Taiwan, Finland, and Austria.