Saeima committee steps back on circus animal ban

On May 2 the Saeima Economic , Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee supported a proposal by Harmony MP Jūlija Stepaņenko to allow the use of wild animals born in captivity.

It follows that in current form the amendments would ban only the use of animals caught in the wild.

The Saeima is to decide on the proposal in the second reading of the bill.

As reported by LSM, the previous bill that would ban the use of wild animals in circus performances was passed by 44 votes to 23 in the first reading.

MP Ingmārs Līdaka (Greens and Farmers Union) was skeptical over Stepaņenko's proposal, saying that he knows of no circuses that use animals caught in the wild.

"Neither circuses, nor zoos catch animals in the wild for keeping them in captivity. Generally all of these species have sufficient captive populations," he said.

Aivars Andersons, head of the Animal Freedom organization, said that this proposal essentially removes the ban, endorsed by experts and scientists, of using wild animals in circus performances.

While on May 2 Riga Zoo representative Māris Lielkalns told LTV7 that a lamb at the zoo had died last weekend as it had been fed bread by the visitors.

The lamb should have only been fed its mother's milk. Only three lambs remain currently at the Riga Zoo.

Despite signs saying that people should not feed the animals, it doesn't always help, and improved visitors' access to the facilities had contributed to the sad event. 

"Perhaps there are people who can't read," Lielkalns said.

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