Move to ban use of wild animals in circus

The Agriculture Ministry in cooperation with the Animal Protection and Welfare Advisory Council will set up a task force to draft amendments regarding the use of wild animals in circuses, as the ministry's representatives told the LETA newswire Tuesday.

The Animal Protection and Welfare Advisory Council held the first meeting at the Agriculture Ministry yesterday to discuss the matter. Representatives from the ministry, Nature Conservation Agency, Food and Veterinary Service, and the "Dzivnieku drauga fonds" (Animals' Friends Fund) presented reports about the use of wild animals in circuses, and the participants agreed that amendments would be drawn up suggesting that use of wild animals in circus be banned.

A representative from the Riga Circus was not admitted to the meeting, as the Riga Circus' Director Lolita Lipinska told LETA.

She commented that if the initiative was approved by the government, it would mean an end to a centuries-old art in Latvia. According to polls, animal acts are highly popular with circus visitors and the circus' own advertising makes lavish use of all manner of wild beasts.

The Food and Veterinary Service, after consulting several animal protection organizations, proposed the initiative at the beginning of October.

Use of wild animals in circuses has been banned in many European countries.

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