In late September, France announced the re-imposition of animal ban including other wildlife used as entertainment in marine parks and traveling circuses The new ban on animal use will also affect operators of fur farms although they are given until 2025 to shut down their farming operations.

The announcement made it clear that the ban takes effect immediately in marine parks, while additionally stating that the ban excludes wild animals being housed and cared for in zoos and in other permanent establishments.

Ban Against Aquatic Animals in Captivity in Marine Parks is Not New

The prohibition against breeding and keeping dolphins, purpoises and killer whales in captivity, as imposed on marine parks, took effect immediately after the current Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili made the announcement.

After all, a similar order was mandated in 2017 and enforced by Ms. Segolene Royal, the former Environment Minister of France under the previous socialist government. However, marine park owners sought legal help by contending that the ban was not done in consultation with stakeholders involved. While awaiting the courts’ decision, Ms. Royal actually made the restriction even harder as her office received reports on how the marine animals held inside aquariums were being drugged.

Although animal rights activists worldwide hailed the French government’s mandate as “historic French Advance,” the country’s highest administrative court reversed the ban in January 2018.

Back then, the marine parks considered the ruling as a victory as it prevented their business from shutting down. As it is now apparent that proper stakeholder and public consultations were made under Minister Pompili, marine parks have no choice but to shut down immediately following the renewed imposition of the 2017 prohibition.

Ban on Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses Will Take Effect Gradually

Ms. Barbara Pompili’s announcement included a ban on wild animals, like elephants, lions, and other wildlife being held in captivity by traveling circuses. However, the prohibition will take effect gradually. Ms. Pompili vowed to find solutions for every animal affected by the prohibition, by carrying out the ban as a separate decision to be fulfilled in the future.

Furthermore, workers who will be affected by the restrictions and be displaced without jobs, will receive aid from the French government. The government will be executing an economic package worth $9.2 million to assist displaced workers find new jobs. According to Ms. Pompili, the gradual change and adding of restrictions will spread across years in changing the lives of citizens.

The Ecological Transition Minister said her top priority is to ensure the well-being of animals, which includes the discontinuance of farming minks just for their furs, whilst saying

“It’s a period of entering a new era in our relationships with animals.”